Held for the second year in a row, the 2023 Little League® Girls with Game® Experience was a grand slam of a hit, bringing the fun and excitement of softball to the home of the Little League Baseball® World Series with four unique experiences on October 20-21.
“The Girls with Game Experience is a great opportunity for girls to come out and learn from college softball players at the home of the largest youth sports tournament in the world,” said Ashlea Miller, Little League Director of Softball Development. “This year was the first time we added in a coaches’ clinic, as well as expanding our event to include two more college teams, and we could not be more proud about how the weekend turned out. We hope all our participants enjoyed their time as much as we did and are thankful for everyone who came out to support the event and the game of softball.”
Learn more about each of the four unique experiences, and relive the excitement of each of them below:
Opening up the weekend’s festivities was a Little League Softball® Coaches’ Clinic where representatives from Maryland Black Ice (MBI) Camps went over basic coaching techniques and examples with current Little League Softball coaches to help them improve their skills and provide a better experience for their players. While inclement weather forced the clinic indoors in the batting cages, the coaches were provided a unique opportunity and learned important skills to help continue to grow the game.
Youth Softball Clinic
On Saturday morning, more than 150 youth softball players (ages 9-14) spent the morning across the Little League International Complex learning important skills to help them on the field. Utilizing Lamade Stadium, Volunteer Stadium, the batting cages, and a practice field, coaches from MBI Camps and members of the four participating universities went over softball skills including hitting, infield, and outfield. At the conclusion of the clinic, the participants were provided lunch and had the chance to visit the World of Little League® Museum and the Little League Main Gift Shop before the afternoon Division I College Softball doubleheader.
Goal-Setting Sessions with Athletes Unlimited’s Tori Vidales
In addition to all the physical skills learned from the coaching staff as part of the youth clinic, participants had the unique opportunity to spend time with Athletes Unlimited Softball infielder, Tori Vidales, and a number of the college softball players to talk about their dreams and aspirations as well as what they can do to achieve them. As part of the session, participants talked about their short- and long-term goals, focusing on keeping them “S.M.A.R.T.” – specific, measurable, attainable, relatable, and time-balanced. The opportunity, exclusive to participants of the Girls with Game Experience thanks to Little League’s partnership with Athlete Unlimited, is yet another way that Little League helps to connect youth softball players with their role models in an effort to provide positive experiences and mentorship off the field.
“This event has been amazing,” said Ms. Vidales. “Knowing that I can be a figure that they can look up to has been a full-circle moment for me, and it was great to hear the goals of these kids because I’m living a lot of them today. It’s so important as softball players now to take care of the generations that are coming up after us, so to be able to pass along that knowledge through events like this is incredible.”
Division I Softball Doubleheader
Held on a skinned infield of Lamade Stadium for the first time ever, the doubleheader featuring Bucknell vs. Maryland and Army West Point vs. Penn State was one for the record books. Following a ceremonial first pitch from Ms. Vidales to kick off the doubleheader, Maryland was able to take the first-game victory over Bucknell before Penn State threw a no-hitter over Army to round out the day. Following the conclusion of each game, all the fans and participants also had the opportunity to meet with the college athletes for an autograph session, giving them more interactive experiences with the collegiate stars. In addition to the excitement at the stadium, Little League also hosted a broadcast of both games on its YouTube channel, sharing with fans all the great initiatives set for the Little League Softball program and the Girls with Game initiative.
Bucknell vs. Maryland Highlights
Army vs. Penn State Highlights
The Girls with Game Experience is one of the many unique opportunities Little League hosts as part of its Girls with Game initiative, and is just a small piece of the larger celebration the organization will be holding as part of its Girls with Game 50 (#GWG50) Campaign in 2024. To learn more, visit LittleLeague.org/GirlsWithGame and LittleLeague.org/GWG50.
Fans interested in supporting the Girls with Game initiative can also find plenty of merchandise and apparel in the Little League Store by visiting ShopLittleLeague.org.