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Pride Valley Force '02 provides a chance for young talent to grow

The Pride Valley Force '02 softball team has faced plenty of great competition this summer. With a great winning record in tow, this group of young women took big steps in making themselves better players and better leaders in their respective schools.


Great softball players don’t just grow on trees, nor do they just happen to be great softball players. Even the best of talents must apply themselves and work to perfect their craft, and the young women that star for the Pride Valley Force ’02 traveling softball team out of Tuscarawas County have shown the desire and dedication to make themselves into players who can help make their respective high school programs better.
The team includes a host of talent from around the area, a veritable all-star team of players that includes Jordan Aukamp and Amber Hooks of Tusky Valley, Chelsea Froman and Lilly Goodwin of New Philadelphia, Morgan Allen and Maddie Woods of West Holmes, Nicole Keim of Hiland, Katie Deardorff of Indian Valley, Madison DeVault of Dover, Kenzie Hancock of Triway, Brook Poland of Claymont, and Jenah Shelt of Tuslaw.
The wealth of talent becomes even more amazing considering that each of these players was born in 2002, and that talent has been on display all summer as the Force ‘02 has experienced plenty of success.
The most recent foray into big-time tournament action came at the World Series in Columbus, Ohio, where the team worked its way into a top-16 finish in a mammoth field of 180 teams.
While rain wreaked havoc on the weekend tournament, the Force ’02 squad put the raindrops behind them and stayed focused on the task at hand. Eventually they fell to the team that ended the World Series in the runner-up spot. Head coach David Smith said there was no shame in losing to a team of that caliber.
The fact that the squad features so many local talents makes the venture even more enjoyable as girls who normally face off against one another can gain respect for and develop relationships with players from surrounding schools.
“We have worked hard to keep the talent local,” Smith said of the team. “This has been a really fun summer. These girls just keep improving and making themselves into better players, and that is what the whole goal is for this program. We want to get these kids outside and have them work on pushing themselves to improve. At the same time we want them to develop a love and a joy for this game that keeps it fun for them.”
Smith said the commitment to participating for the Force ‘02 team is a huge one, and the girls understand they will have to sacrifice and make that commitment to get better, both as individuals and as a team.
But that desire to excel has driven each of the team members to grow immensely this summer.
“We as coaches couldn’t be prouder of the way this group of girls has stepped up and worked so hard this summer,” Smith said. “They have definitely given everything they could to make us better as a team, and in the long run, playing ball at this caliber of play is going to make them much better players who understand the game.”
With the summer season now over and the girls ready to head back to their respective programs, they will go knowing they have taken huge steps in becoming better players and better leaders for their respective schools.

Published: August 4, 2017
New Article ID: 2017170809984