Danika Gonzalez, participating in Scripps Ranch Softball Association, stands in position ready to strike the ball. (photo by James Anderson)
Hoping to get back in the swing
The Scripps Ranch Softball Association (SRSA) is an organization for girls to learn and play softball. It is part of the Junior Olympic program with USA Softball. Each year the association recruits around 280 girls that range from ages six to 14.
“We are a family-oriented association and we really focus on the girls,” said James Anderson, SRSA president.
During the spring, the association fundraises by holding a raffle.
“We ask each girl to try and sell five raffle tickets. As an incentive for the girls, we also put their names in a raffle in which they can get a bat. Then we get donations from companies and amusement parks to help fundraise. For example, this year Disneyland had donated a four day and two-day pass,” President Anderson said.
However, this year the organization split up the profits and donated $2,000 to Feeding San Diego in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
“We wanted to give back to the community in a time like this,” Anderson said.
Not only does the association fundraise through the raffle, but it also has local sponsors such as Diamond Designs and the Scripps Ranch Old Pros.
With the rest of the money raised, they pay for expenses in the program. SRSA was also able to award five $1,000 scholarships to five senior high school students: Lauren Anderson, Julia Cornelissen, Alex Cruella, Sophia Ippolito and Juliana Ishimine.
“Because of our local sponsors and fundraisers, we are able to have one of the lowest registration fees,” Anderson said.
On June 17, the association started holding summer camps that ran in two-week increments. For now, their permits have been renewed through the end of July.
Depending on the group of athletes, sessions can range from teaching the basics to running drills. Each group has 12 athletes.
At the moment, USA Softball has possible plans to have tournaments in August in which the association wants to participate. Some of the activities are up in the air (as of press time) due to the COVID-19 crisis, as one of the leagues the association partners with cancelled its upcoming season and another plans September competition, pending local guidelines of cities in which it plays.
During the regular year, the association has three seasons. Fall Ball season runs from August to November.
“Fall Ball is developmental in nature. Girls that play Fall Ball are usually trying to improve or preparing to move up in age next season. During the fall, we play in the North County Winterball League or in Premier Girls Fastpitch. Both leagues have teams from all over the San Diego area,” Anderson said.
Recreational season runs from January to April.
“Recreation season is designed to help all players of all levels get better and learn and, hopefully, love softball. We play around 12 to 16 games per season followed by a double elimination playoff tournament. We also have activities such as movie night and hot dog decorating contests for the girls,” Anderson said.
All Star season runs from May to July.
“All Star season is designed to provide players an opportunity to take their game to the next level and compete with neighboring leagues. All Star season can include the opportunity to play at States and eventually Nationals, if you qualify,” Anderson said.
All Star season also includes travel. Each season, players compete in a tournament in Irvine.
“The trip to Irvine is truly a lifetime memory for the girls. They really feel like they are part of something,” Anderson said.