While many in the Northwest are taking their softball game indoors, Fastpitch Northwest director Ken Olson and his crew are headed to 80-degree weather in the Hawaiian Islands to kick off the 2018 Prospect Evaluation Camp season.
Fastpitch NW will hold a pair of PECs in Hawaii – Nov. 18 on Maui (Baldwin High School) and Nov. 19 on Oahu (Kapolei High School). Players who perform well will receive an invitation to next July’s Fastpitch Northwest College Exposure Tournament to take place in Centralia.
“We are only a month away from our 8th PEC on Maui and Oahu,” said Olson. “Registrations are coming in and we are excited to announce the Central Washington University head coach, Mike Larabee will be joining us during the two camps on November 18th on Maui and the 19th on Oahu.”
Larabee is a former Team USA member and prior to coaching at CWU, he coached at Arkansas University.
“I’m excited to be able to travel to Hawaii with Ken Olson and Tom Mauldin. I have a lot of respect for both of them and I’m excited to work these camps in Hawaii,” noted Larabee. “I’m also excited to be able to evaluate the talent in Hawaii. I know there are some players on the islands that can help us win a WCWS National Championship!!”
Olson and Larabee will be joined by Tom and Cat Mauldin in conducting the PECs and evaluating the talent.
“I am really looking forward to getting back to see the Hawaiian kids compete,” said Olson. “The coaches over there spend so much time on fundamentals and it shows when they get over her in front of our NW coaches.”
The PECs will feature five-plus hours of on-field testing and evaluation.
“Over the last two years I have reaped the benefits of Fastpitch NW,” said Larabee. “I have several athletes that have committed to play and attend Central Washington University that have been a part of Fastpitch NW. There are several more prospects that are also on our radar that have participated in the Fastpitch NW camps and tournaments.”
At the PECs, players will be tested using the SPARQ and the NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) comparatives and evaluated by the Fastpitch Northwest staff.
The SPARQ rating system and the NFCA Comp guide are merely measuring guides. The system is designed to measure sport-specific athleticism. The results from these tests are combined and weighted using a formula specific to softball. Nike Sports developed the rating system for several sports, including softball.
SPARQ represents Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness. It’s an acronym that excites coaches ... especially when they see attention-grabbing performances.
The NFCA comparatives include Bat Exit Speed (the speed of the ball coming off the bat), baserunning and throwing.
“Ultimately, these guidelines can be motivational,” said Mauldin. “We can always improve, so why wouldn’t we. Coaches love players who work to improve.”
Olson and the Mauldins have close to a combined 90 years of experience and have coached at the collegiate and high school levels. Mauldin currently coaches at two colleges.
The forecast for Hawaii calls for highs in the mid-80s, lows in the low 70s and occasion clouding with many sun breaks.
Olson said he wasn’t expecting a record-breaking turnout as was the case two years ago when 75 Hawaiians attended PECs and more than half attended the July tournament. However, 50 plus players are expected.
Each year, Hawaiian players grab a lot of college coaches’ attention. To name only a few from over the years, Laugatausala “Sala” Pedebone, Cassie Ho, Kykala Tokunaga, Taylor Oda, Kaylee Harmon, Stacia Mahoe, Brinel Kaleikini, Chardonnay Pantastico, Beyli Correia, Meleana Turner, Darian Obara, Kaitlin Carlos, Taylor Panlasiqui and Cristine Hipa to name a few.
Though the Hawaiian PECs are held in November (2017), player marks are recorded against 2017 PECs held in other states.