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Twelve up-and-coming Vandalia area girls braved the summer heat to learn lessons from a division-one college softball veteran.
University of Missouri alumni Ashley Fleming held a softball camp July 17 at Van-Far High School to teach area residents tips on the fundamentals of fielding, pitching, catching and batting. While attending Silex High School, Fleming played on the Van-Far field on which she held her camp last Tuesday.
“I wanted to be able to do something closer to home,” Fleming said.
The girls started infield to brush up on battling grounders, pop flies, and base throws.
After a short — but needed — water break, the campers took to a pitching practice before hearing Fleming speak on the basics of batting. Fleming put on camps all summer in Silex, Bowling Green, Columbia, and Kansas City, Mo., with groups ranging from 25 to 90 campers.
“It’s a great experience,” she said. “I just wanted to help younger generations by providing them with information I was lucky enough to learn at a Division I college.”
“I think they like being able to learn from somebody who just finished playing,” Fleming said.
She said parents get a lot out of her camps, too. A lot of parents stick around afterwards to get advice on drills and other practice techniques, she said.
Fleming’s father Mark, brother Nick, and friend Rebecca Lipsey joined to help her break the group into more personal sessions.
She said giving local girls a chance to meet her is important because they might not have had the chance to do so after softball games at MU. Some of those girls may have followed her college career.
Fleming said she plans to hold camps in surrounding areas during the upcoming winter.
Fleming was a two-time All-American during her collegiate career as she helped the Lady Tigers reach the Women’s College World Series three times. She was also named all-conference three times and was the team’s MVP and Offensive Player of the Year.