Diamonds Are Forever: Five Little League Softball® Alums Continue to Thrive in the Game
Little League Softball® graduates Heather Tarr, Nicole Trimboli, Angela Tincher, Connie Leto-Martin, and Carley Hoover are accomplished and well-deserving of world-class accolades, but it’s been their memories and experiences as Little Leaguers® that have motivated them to excel at the next level.
In 2015, Tarr, head coach of the University of Washington softball program, will be entering her 11th year at the helm of the Husky Softball team. Her résumé includes more than 400 wins, nine NCAA super regionals, four Women’s College World Series appearances and the program’s only national championship in 2009. Ms. Tarr first picked up a ball glove at age seven. The Redmond, Wash. native quickly caught the eye of her coaches in the Redmond South Little League (RSLL). By the time she was 12 years old, she was playing first base for RSLL’s Major Division baseball International Tournament team that reached the Western Region Tournament in San Bernardino, Calif. Ms. Tarr switched over to softball in her teenage years and played on an interleague team with Kirkland (Wash.) Little League. Two years later, she was a key player on the Kirkland Little League team that won the 1993 Big League Softball World Series.
For the past five seasons, Ms. Trimboli has been head coach of the Regis University Rangers in Denver, Colo. She played Little League Baseball for the Northwest Tampa (Fla.) Little League team before moving to Rochester, N.Y. Ms. Trimboli went on to play softball at the University of Nebraska where she was named to four All-Conference and two All-Midwest Region teams, while earning Big 12 All-Tournament recognition twice in four years. Ms. Trimboli made her National Professional Fastpitch (NPF) league debut with the Akron Rangers in 2004, and as recently as 2011, spent time playing for the NPF’s Akron Racers. She also has coached softball at Division II Colorado School of Mines, and has taught at the National Baseball and Softball Academy in Wheeling, Ill.
An assistant softball coach for the past two seasons at her alma mater, Virginia Tech University, Ms. Tincher played three seasons (2005–to–2008) for the Hokies. She earned All-American status before being drafted by the Akron Racers in the first round of the 2008 NPF player draft. Ms. Tincher began playing Little League Softball at age nine in her hometown of Eagle Rock, Va. She is one of five collegiate pitchers to achieve 100 wins, 1,000 strikeouts, post an earned run average below 1.00; and average double-digit strikeouts for her career.
A three-year team captain, Ms. Martin finished her college career at Northwestern University ranked in the school's top seven in 10 different career offensive categories. In 2004, she was Northwestern’s NCAA Division I Woman of the Year and was named to the Big Ten Conference All-tournament team. She is the first Northwestern female athlete to play for a professional franchise, spending five years as a professional softball player in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league. During her Little League days in El Cajon, Calif., she was introduced to the basic skills and techniques of hitting a ball and fielding a ball, but the time with her teammates will always be more important to her. She is currently preparing for her ninth season as an assistant coach with the Harvard University Softball program.
Chosen as the 2013 Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year, Ms. Hoover got her start in softball with Simpsonville Little League in Simpsonville, S.C., and was a standout pitcher on the 2008 Little League Softball® World Series championship team. Earlier this month, Ms. Hoover, currently a sophomore at Stanford University, decided to transfer to Louisiana State University. During her freshman season with the Cardinal Softball program, Ms. Hoover suffered an arm injury that limited her appearances. In an abbreviated season, she went 2-5, posting an earned run average of 1.65 in 17 innings, with 26 strikeouts, and12 hits allowed. In her collegiate debut, she recorded her first pitching victory, surrendering one run on four hits, with nine strikeouts against the University of North Carolina.
Sheila Cornell-Douty, two-time Olympic Softball Gold Medalist, once said, “One of the most awesome things about sports, particularly team sports, is that everything you need to do to be successful on the playing field carries over directly into life.” For these five Little Leaguers®, their experiences and time on their local Little League fields have meant more to them then any trophy that they could win.