Payson Little League Softball Director Felicia Moore is calling a Payson-area girls clinic hosted by former Arizona State University stars Brittney Matta and Renee Welty a roaring success.
“Phenomenal, awesome — it was all that and more,” said Moore. “In fact, it was so good we are planning on bringing the coaches back a couple more times this year.”
The clinic, held June 25 and 26 at Rumsey Park, drew 31 Payson Little League players, ages 8 to 16 years.
The turnout pleased Moore mostly because, “We were not sure what to expect because money is so tight.
“But this was really a good deal, something like this in the Valley would cost $250 or more.”
The clinic fee in Payson was $75, but the ASU players opted to return some of it to the Little League program to purchase much-needed equipment.
In addition to the fledgling players attending the clinic, all nine minor and major Little League coaches were there both days.
“They were right on the field with the players and the coaches,” said Moore. “It was a great learning experience for everyone.”
The coaches tutored minor division players from 8 a.m. to noon and major division players trained from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
Among the skills the coaches taught were fielding, batting, base running, throwing and catching.
In fielding, the coaches stressed being able to catch and throw a batted ground or fly ball properly and in hitting the ASU pair emphasized the proper rotational motion of the bat.
For base running, the fledgling Payson players were taught to round the bases with proper turns and execution in the most efficient manner.
For catching, being able to throw to all bases with the most accurate and strongest throw was covered.
The clinic also gave the young Payson players a glimpse at how a top caliber Division I program works and the opportunity to learn fundamentally sound skills in which everything is done with a purpose.
What separated the camp from others held around small-town Arizona was the quality of the coaching from two players who wore NCAA championship rings from ASU’s run to the 2008 championship.
That team racked up an all-time high 66 wins during that season.
Both Matta and Welty were also graduate assistant coaches on the 2011 team that won the NCAA title.
In addition to hosting the Payson camp, Matta and Welty hosted a similar one this year in Farmington, N.M. for six-time state champion Piedra Vista High School.
Matta entered ASU as a walk-on catcher in 2006 and redshirted her freshman year. During her sophomore year she was a member of the national championship team, but after suffering a knee injury she opted to become an undergraduate assistant for the team.
She worked as the undergraduate assistant for two years until she graduated in May 2010 with her degree in criminal justice. She currently is working on her master’s degree in higher and post-secondary education.
She says her career goal is to become a Division 1 softball coach.
Welty walked on to the ASU softball team after transferring from Chandler-Gilbert Community College, where she was All-American, All-Conference and Catcher of the Year for NJCAA in 2007.
In 2008, the year she walked on, she split time catching earning the Most Inspirational Player Award.
Welty wrapped her playing career in May of 2009 with a degree in business and communications. Currently, she is a graduate assistant with the softball team and is pursuing her master’s degree in higher and post-secondary education and leadership.
“Both coaches were such nice, nice girls,” said Moore, who also issued a thanks to Payson Walmart for donating bottled drinking water for the campers and coaches.