Even though softball season for the Clinton County Lady Bat Dawgs is more than four months away, it didn’t keep some players from taking the field Saturday and with the guest of honor being Crystl Bustos, the players were more than eager to hit the field hard.
Bustos was a member of the USA Women’s Softball Olympic team and has two gold medals she won in 2000 and 2004.
In 2008, the United States team picked up the silver medal in Beijing and following the final game of the Olympics, Bustos retired her cleats and now continues to work in the sport she loves, teaching fundamentals to younger players.
Bustos hosted a hitting clinic Saturday at Clinton County High School and along with some members of the Lady Dawgs team, Wayne County brought several girls to the high school to participate in the hitting clinic.
Bustos spent two hours at teaching fundamentals and proper stance.
“I think it went really well,” Head Softball Coach Darrell Thompson said. “We will probably do a follow up sometime during the winter.”
During the clinic, Bustos told the players who attended that athletes like her have to consider everything when training and according to Thompson, Bustos broke down the swing all the way down to how the pinky finger should be positioned on the bat.
“It will give the girls a chance to work through all the fundamentals and hopefully it will make us better,” Thompson said. “She told me it would probably take eight months to install her method of hitting and get the players where they need to be. We will probably have her come back at the first of the year and revisit everything she taught Saturday, along with another progression.”
Thompson said she is completely “redoing their swing.”
“We were really pleased and I think the girls were pleased,” Thompson said. “She gave us some ideas of things we need to do.”
Thompson said after Bustos’ instructions were over, she showed the girls who attended the clinic some of her skills behind a bat. Thompson said out of 25 balls Bustos’ hit, 22 or so went over the fence.
“Our girls were fielding the balls on the other side of the fence,” Thompson said. “She gave us a training aid for the players that will make them hold a bat like many golfers hold a golf club.”
Thompson said it will take a while to get his team comfortable with that grip, but he is optimistic this will be one of many improvements Bustos has given the team on the way to becoming better hitters.