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YOUTH SOFTBALL

The real benefits Hype offers young softball players

By: Amanda Calzada/Placer Herald Correspondent
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When local Mike Mello wanted to move his daughters up from recreational softball to a more competitive fast pitch league he decided to take it one step further. In 2005, he began a program that has since more than tripled in size and is now nationally renowned.

The Hype, a club with teams ranging from 12-14-16 and under up to age 18 Gold levels, has proven to be far more than … hype. The organization won the National Softball Association World Series in 2007 and has had a strong core of players that return season after season.

“We were always a team from the beginning. It’s stayed that way,” said Alanna Rainer, a member of the Gold team.

Currently, 53 girls are softball players in the Hype program.

The 15 girls at the Gold level are attracting the attention of more than 50 D1, D2, D3 and NAIA schools. The Gold team, although composed mostly of local high school players, has girls on the roster who come from as far away as Reno and Colusa to participate.

All of the girls on the team hope to continue playing softball at the collegiate level.

“They go as a unit,” said coach Curt Lerner.           

As part of the preseason, Derek and Joann Allister of Tahoe analyzed each individual player by strength, speed, and throwing dynamics to collect stats to send to college recruiters.

Lerner said the Allisters provides information to the top recruiting sources in the country.

Hype alumni have played collegiate softball at Whittier College, Adams State University and Humboldt State University.

Mello’s daughter, Maegan, recently made a verbal commitment to Humboldt State.

“I’m learning a lot,” said Carly Pryor, a 15-year-old who moved up from the 16U team. She said all the players on Hype are really nice.

Most of Hype’s athletic performances are to give the players an opportunity to showcase their skills to college recruiters. The team does participate in a few tournaments, traveling as far as Huntington Beach to play.

“None of this could be done without all the volunteers that have spent countless hours, days, and years to make us what we are today,” said Mello.    ­