Dannielle Molinar, 15, started playing softball at the age of 6. She worked her way up through Little League to competitive club play. The Mountain View High School student hopes to use her pitching talents to go far in college, where she plans to study pediatric oncology.
Katie Miller, also 15, started playing when she was 5. She’d like to use her athletic abilities to earn a scholarship to college once she graduates from Marana High School, even play softball in college, the farthest it goes.
Dannielle and Katie are just two of the many members of the Arizona Rampage, a 16U (ages 16 and under) nonprofit, girls fast-pitch softball organization located in Oro Valley. The team members are serious players, so much so that the team – which is less than one year old – placed third in Triple Crown Sports Arizona State A Championship in May. The win qualified them for a place in the TCS World Series set for July 17-24 in Park City, Utah.
Now the girls and team officials have gotten equally serious about raising money to finance the trip. They are selling candles, candy and holding car washes each Saturday this month to offset the $5,500 executive director Tina Adams estimates the trip will cost.
The amount covers the rental of two 15-passenger vans, event entry fee, meals, hotel accommodations and team trading pins.
“If someone would donate a 15-person van, that would save us $1,100,” said Adams, who created Arizona Rampage last year.
“Teams in the Amateur Softball Association of America come and go, and as a mother I thought, what do I want for my children? I wanted them to be well-rounded individuals,” she noted, adding the organization emphasizes the importance of nutrition, education and a family atmosphere.
The organization started in June 2010 with one division for players 14 and under (14U). Within three months, it had grown to three divisions in Tucson – 12U, 14U and 16U – and a total of about 36 players. The organization is registered with Triple Crown Sports and the Amateur Softball Association of America.
The players are thriving thanks to their achievements and camaraderie.
“I love going on the field and playing with my second family,” said Dannielle. “It’s awesome to have eight or so girls behind you to support you. That’s one thing I always know the outcome of – that they’ll be there for me.”
Katie felt the same.
“The girls are great. I feel like I’ve known them for years,” she said. “The team shows us we can accomplish pretty much anything we put our hearts and minds to.”
Playing well has another advantage. In the upper age groups, college scouts will attend games to observe future stars.
Given that next month’s world series will be broadcast nationally, the event presents a remarkable opportunity for the girls to be seen by a multitude of collegiate scouts.
To donate to the Arizona Rampage for their world series trip, the public can attend an upcoming car wash or visit their website at www.arizonarampage.com. They also can call Adams at 425-1583.