Fledgling softball team experiences success

Photo by Chris Barber Hitting and bunting tryouts for SWAT softball

LONDON GROVE - A newly created girls’ travel softball team is moving into its second season, having garnered plenty of wins in its first year.

Southern Chester County S.W.A.T. Fastpitch got its start last year after a trio of parents decided to organize a travel team for girls who wanted a high level of youth softball. The initials stand for softball with attitude and teamwork.

Tom Murphy, Bob Wallauer and Dan VanSciver put together a 12-and-under team that would play and practice year around, competing with other teams in the region. They travel as far away as Quakertown in the north and Laurel, Md., in the south for games.

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“It’s for girls who were very good and had a passion to play softball,” Murphy said. He added that most of the girls plan to go on to playing high school softball.

The team plays on the Little League softball field on State Road and during cold weather goes for practice to Parkesburg’s Swing Away and the Avondale Presbyterian Church activity room.

For the girls, the season practically never stops, with short breaks around the Christmas season. Otherwise, these softball fanatics live a life immersed in their sport.

They begin their outdoor tournaments through late October, move indoors for the cold weather and then go outside again in April.

Last year they came in second at four tournaments, one in third place and finished in ninth place in the USSSA World Series in Salisbury, Md.

The initial team consisted of girls who were 12 years old and under, but now that another year has gone by, the older members -- five of them -- are ready for an older category. This year there will be a 14 and under team for those girls.

This past weekend tryouts were held at the Little League field in batting and fielding. This coming Saturday, there will be more tryouts, including pitching, at 9:30 a.m. and again on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Murphy said he has been impressed with the progress the team has made in just a year. “They’ve improved in their fundamentals and knowledge. It may not be the biggest team, but it’s very aggressive,” he said.

Commenting on the value of participating in year ‘round travel teams, he said that the level of skill they achieve is almost a pre-requisite for joining a school team inasmuch most of the girls who play now have travel team backgrounds.