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NorCal softball tryouts and Gold Medal camp and clinic

Learning from the best to be the best
By: Jim Linsdau Lincoln News Messenger Sports
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The Foskett Softball Complex, Lincoln, will be in full swing in August as tryouts for two prestigious Northern California competitive softball teams (Team California DeMarini U12 and U16) get under way Aug. 10 through 17, and culminates in a two-day softball clinic featuring some of the finest softball talents in the United States. Girls who qualify to play softball 12-and-under, and 16-and-under, can try out for the Northern California premiere softball clubs, Team California DeMarini 12U and 16U. Tryouts run from 6-9 p.m. These tryouts will be followed by the Lisa Fernandez Gold Medal Youth Softball Camp and Coaches Clinic, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, Aug. 27-28. Granite Bay’s Michele Granger will take over the head coaching duties of the 16U team. She will have to dissolve her Silverstreak program, but feels this is a good move for all involved in youth softball. “We’re hoping to pull into these tryouts girls from within a 200-mile radius,” said Granger, whose Silverstreak team is now competing at nationals in Texas. “This is taking my idea with the Silverstreak to a whole new level.” Granger reported her Silverstreak lost 2-1 to a very good Alabama team, Monday. She said the level of competition is so keen that one mistake can mean the ballgame. She hopes this new, elite team concept will give young girls in Sacramento and the surrounding area something to aspire to. Sponsored by California Police Youth Charities, DeMarini, and Wilson, these travel teams compete in tournaments throughout the year. The goals of this program are to help prepare young players to play at the highest level, and develop the skills necessary to play in college. All expenses related to fees, uniforms, tournaments and travel for these first class, first rate teams are paid by the organization. Granger said the charitable aspect of Team California really excited her. She said she grew up in a volunteering environment and thinks this new softball organization will have a very positive influence on the girls. “I’m hoping that we will have a tie-in with the Special Olympics,” said Granger. “I feel that’s a natural for young girls.” All age-eligible girls are encouraged to try out in spite of the greater expectations. Granger said just the exposure to this level of play would be good for all who attend. The top 12-13 players, 16U, will be selected by Granger; head coach Lyndsey Klein will select the 12U team. They will be looking for a player’s willingness to work in order to compete with the best. The Gold Medal Camp is open to girls 8-18 at all levels of play, Aug. 27-28. Girls will be grouped by age and experience. Pre-registration for players is $150, $200 same-day registration. The player camp is six hours of training per day, lunch provided each day. Program includes instruction, plus hitting and fielding mechanics. There will be prizes, awards, goody bags, and T-shirts included. There is a coach’s clinic offered 6-9 p.m., Aug. 26. The fee for the coach’s camp is $50. Featured instructors: Lisa Fernandez: considered one of the greatest softball players to ever play the game, Fernandez won three gold medals for the United States in the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic Games. She also played for two UCLA national championship teams, and is now an assistant coach for the Bruins. Her statistics in both hitting and pitching exceed most of history’s great fast pitch players. Lyndsey Klein: is head coach of the Team California DeMarini U12 club. A native of Roseville and a softball star at Oakmont High, she was selected Junior College Player of the Year while at Sacramento City College, and helped UCLA win a national championship after transferring there. She has been a member of the USA National Team, and played professionally for the New York/New Jersey Juggernauts. She gives lessons in softball and runs the Team California DeMarini Softball program for California Police Youth Charities. Michele Granger: is the head coach of the Team California DeMarini U16 club, and now resides in Granite Bay. She was a four-time All American at the University of California before joining the USA National Team and the USA Olympic Team. Granger pitched the gold medal game in the 1996 Olympics to help give the USA its first Olympic gold medal in softball. Granger coached the Lady Vols at the University of Tennessee, and now is the pitching coach at Sierra College and Granite Bay High School. Jenny Topping: is the assistant head coach for the Team California DeMarini ASA team. She was a three-time All American catcher at Cal State Fullerton, and now resides in the foothills of Sacramento. She was also named Big West Conference Player of the Year three times, and led the NCAA in home runs and runs-batted-in. She was a member of the USA National Team and USA Olympic Team, winning a gold medal in 2004. Brian Kolze: one of the most respected collegiate softball coaches in California and the nation, Kolze has the most wins of any coach in University of Pacific softball history. He enters his 19th season with the Tigers, and was this year’s Big West Conference Coach of the Year. In 2011, Kolze led UOP to its first conference championship. Gio Carmazzi: a standout prep athlete at Jesuit High, Sacramento, Carmazzi was drafted as a quarterback by the San Francisco 49ers in 2000. He was a national scholar-athlete while playing for Hofstra University, New York. He also played for the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe and for the Canadian Football League’s British Columbia Lions and Calgary Stampeders. Carmazzi has excelled as a personal trainer and is an expert in teaching agility for young athletes.