Friday, August 17, 2018
Sports

Bombers' college camp kick starts recruiting process for softball players

CLEARWATER — After playing a series of makeshift games, softball players from all age levels gathered around the pavilion area at Eddie C. Moore complex. They listened attentively as 10 college coaches answered their questions about the recruiting process.

The Q&A session wrapped up a two-day camp in Clearwater put together by the Bombers travel ball organization. There were no exclusions. Players from other organizations could participate as long they paid the $160 registration fee. Members of the Bombers and teams of eight or more players were given a discounted rate.

There was nothing at stake, at least in wins. Players from different travel clubs were put together to form teams comparable in skill levels. What mattered most was college coaches at all levels, from Division I-A to junior college, were there to provide instruction and feedback.

This is the fourth year the Bombers have held a college camp. They do it as a fundraiser for the organization to help pay for entry fees and other expenses at tournaments.

"The hardest thing for a lot of these girls is just getting the recruiting process started," said Bombers 18U coach Pat Affrunti, who has been with the organization for 10 years. "This gives them a good introduction with coaches."

Coaches from Ball State, Chipola College, Lynn, Rollins, Florida Gulf Coast and Wisconsin were among those in attendance. They were each paid $500 and had their air fare and hotel rooms taken care of.

The NCAA allows coaches to conduct camps — and receive compensation — provided that they are open to everyone and fall during the recruiting period.

RELATED: University of Florida faces a second Title IX investigation.

Affrunti pulled double duty. He also is an assistant at St. Leo.

That dual role is allowed as long as the players on Affrunti's travel team all live within 100 miles of the St. Leo campus, according to Division II rules.

"It certainly helps with the recruiting process for our school because I'm able to see a lot of players," Affrunti said. "But I can't imagine too many coaches doing what I do given how much time is involved trying to do both."

At the camp coaches answered questions about what they look for in a player (fit and personality are key), whether recruiting services matter (they don't) and how much emphasis is put on grade-point averages and standardized test scores (a lot).

Typically, the recruiting process starts with a letter or email to coach. Sending out a ton to colleges in hopes of getting interest usually does not work.

Western Carolina's Jim Clift, who attended the Atlanta Legacy, one of the showcases featured in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times, said he receives about 100 emails a day. He deletes nearly all of them.

The ones that get his attention are more personal.

"I want to know that you want to be here," Clift said.

The coaches at the Bombers' camp echoed that sentiment.

Once all the questions were answered, the players flocked toward coaches, resumes and transcripts in hand, all in pursuit of a scholarship. Some coaches will watch the players they are interested in at other tournaments this fall. They will ask others to attend their own camp to have more time to evaluate them as potential recruits.

"It's a start," Affrunti said. "And that's the biggest thing we're trying to get out of it."

Comments
Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota: The stats that matter

Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota: The stats that matter

Yeah, but …Every Jameis Winston-Marcus Mariota debate is full of them.Winston has completed more passes (939), gained more passing yards (11,636) and thrown more passing touchdowns (69) before his age 24 season than any quarterback in NFL histo...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
In Clearwater, this woman is crafting a unique baseball career

In Clearwater, this woman is crafting a unique baseball career

CLEARWATER — The voice of the Clearwater Threshers grew up a couple hours down the coast, listening to Dewayne Staats and making annual family trips to the Trop.The giveaway to what Kirsten Karbach would become, however, should have been her baseball...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Former Plant High football player charged with murder in Detroit

Former Plant High football player charged with murder in Detroit

Tykese Keaton-Baldwin wanted to be remembered as a state champion, the best running back in Plant High School history.Now, the 20-year-old former Panther is facing murder charges in Detroit and the possibility of leaving behind a much different legac...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Rays’ kids are all right, and this is a great time to show it

The Rays’ kids are all right, and this is a great time to show it

This baseball season has been filled with Haves and Have Nots. And your entertaining Rays are smack dab in the middle of it.Kevin Cash's team left New York for Boston on Thursday night and they hardly needed a plane after a 3-1 win and their first se...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Talking with Titans GM Jon Robinson

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Talking with Titans GM Jon Robinson

Rick Stroud sits down with Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson, who served as the Bucs' Director of Player Development under Jason Licht and was in Tampa Bay when the team scouted Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota prior to the 2015 NFL Draf...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Titans GM Jon Robinson sees playmakers everywhere for the Bucs

Titans GM Jon Robinson sees playmakers everywhere for the Bucs

Jon Robinson was in Tampa Bay when he and Bucs and general manager Jason Licht began assembling the team that came to practice with the Titans this week.The Titans GM still thinks highly of the players he helped the Bucs acquire, such as Kwon Alexand...
Updated: 4 hours ago
USF preseason: some midpoint observations

USF preseason: some midpoint observations

A full two weeks have elapsed since USF's first preseason practice, and two weeks (and a day) remain before the first game. By our math, that makes today the midpoint of the preseason.Brilliant, huh? Hey, that's not our only profound observation. We'...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Why you should care about FSU-Samford: This ‘DuckTales’ parody song

Why you should care about FSU-Samford: This ‘DuckTales’ parody song

When Samford Hall of Famer Jimbo Fisher left Florida State for Texas A&M, we all needed a reason to care about the Division I-AA Bulldogs' Week 2 trip to Tallahassee.The internet, as usual, has come through with a video that needs a little context.Sa...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Full disclosure: My preseason AP Top 25 ballot

Full disclosure: My preseason AP Top 25 ballot

We'll find out where Miami, Florida State and the rest of Florida's teams start the season Monday when the AP releases its preseason Top 25 rankings.Until then, here's a sneak peek, in the form of the AP ballot I submitted last week.Clemson starts at...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Preseason football: Berkeley Prep passing game on point in weather-shortened win

TAMPA — Berkeley Prep did some strange things on offense Thursday night.Instead of wheeling around to hand off, quarterback Josh Youngblood was firing the ball down the field.The Bucs becoming more of passing team?Believe it.By shucking its run...
Published: 08/16/18