Thursday, September 3, 2015

Playing Softball like it is 1995

In the year 1995, OJ Simpson was found innocent, Major League Baseball ended a 232-day strike, and the Dow Jones finished above 5000.  Windows 95 and the DVD (an optical disc storage media device was announced.  Bill Clinton was president of the United States, Nelson Mandela was South Africa’s president, Boris Yeltsin was General Secretary of the CPSU and John Major was the Prime Minister of Great Britain.  You could hear Garth Brooks, Smashing Pumpkins, Van Halen, Whitney Houston, Madonna and Janet Jackson playing on the radio.  Toy Story was the first ever wholly computer generated film, and movies such as Apollo 13, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Golden Eye, Die Hard With a Vengeance, Batman Forever and Braveheart were shown on the big screen.

The year 1995 was also significant for the 04 Texas Travelers.  Although, it would be 9 years before these elite softball players were born, a man by the name of John Wardlow would start the Texas Travelers organization paving the way for many girls to develop into strong confident young women, play on their varsity high school softball teams and ultimately provide over 175 girls the chance to play college softball.

The Texas Travelers softball organization is rich with history.  Coach Wardlow has a great reputation and is known for developing great softball talent.  Today, select softball has become a multimillion dollar business.  It seems everywhere you look; a big organization has swallowed up a small team up and then break the team apart to feed a Gold Team.  This wouldn’t be a bad thing, except the fees that come with being part of a big organization start to limit the opportunity for many girls who want to play for the love of the game.  Coach Wardlow was not interested in making the Texas Travelers an organization that he would profit from.  As a matter of fact, he allows the Texas Travelers softball teams the use of his hitting facility at no charge to the girls or the team.

Coach Kyle Bennett is the Head Coach for the 04 Texas Travelers team.  He has led his squad to finishing 3rd in the most prestigious tournament; the 81 year-old competition, 2015 ASA/USA National Championships.  “It is an honor to be part of the Texas Travelers organization.  Coach Wardlow has set the stage for these girls and I am excited to keep the tradition going” states Coach Bennett.

Bennett should be excited.  He has one of the top 04 Select Softball Teams in the United States.  Building on one of the top four pitchers in the country who has struck out over 1000 batters, Elizabeth Schaefer, hitting and All-Star shortstop prodigy Kaydee Bennett; the Travelers have added a plethora of talent.  Girls such as Karley Wolf (another top four pitcher in the country), Riley Rumfield (USA Select Elite All-American Midwest Region Top Performer), Emily Jonte (top pitcher out of the Texas Glory organization), Madison McClarity (Arkansas Elite legendary pitcher and hitter), and a physical hard playing catcher, Kailee Bautista.  In addition to the high profile players on the 04 Texas Travelers squad welcome back girls who became the backbone of the Texas Travelers success such as starting catcher Emily “Moose” Forrester; shutdown first baseman Cadence Hopgood; speedster Zariah London; complete utility player Kelsie Adams; highest softball IQ Jessa McDonald; infield vacuum Bailey Ford and elite pinch hitter Payton Smythe who actually has eligibility to play for the 05 team.  These girls will be playing their first year of 12U (although they have already won 12U tournaments while still in 10U softball).

The 04 Texas Travelers are a fully-funded team and are proud to have Baylor Bears All-American shortstop, Jordan Strickland on their coaching staff as well.

This softball team is looking forward to keeping the tradition alive for another 20 plus years doing things the right way and continuing to develop these ladies to whatever the future holds.

For more information about the 04 Texas Travelers visit the team on Facebook or contact Coach Kyle Bennett at 972.679.7702.

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