Travel softball team shows promise in first season

REED CITY — Considering all of the work that went into the Xtreme Softball team’s inaugural 11-1 season, Bill Squires couldn’t have imagined it turning out any better.

Xtreme Softball consists of 13 and 14-year-olds from  Big Rapids, Reed City, Morley, Lakeview and Evart. The team competed over the past six weeks in a league in Mount Pleasant, where they experienced great success against some high-caliber teams, Squires said.

“I would never have expected them to be this good,” he said. “The girls that came in were all ball players, so they all bonded together and we practiced hard.”

Team members include: Samantha Bressler, Harlee Fuller, Amy Squires, Courtney Smith, Courtney Sheldon, McKenzie Cornelius, Katianne Hansen, Kailey Jones, Keylee Aemisegger, Brooke Sturgeon, Taylor Maguire and Justice Luttrell-Rummel.

Because the team craved high level competition and some didn’t have the ability to compete on a local team, Squires and his wife, Chris, helped the team set up a number of fundraisers to put together $3,500 that was used to purchase uniforms and cover tournament fees.

The team received a significant donation from Ventra in Evart, while working concession stands during volleyball games hosted in Reed City and Big Rapids.

The roster was pieced together through players that attended hitting clinics in Evart for children fourth grade and up, which were hosted by Squires and Xtreme assistant coach Shane Smith.

In addition to the weekly competition in Mount Pleasant, Xtreme participated in the Junior Olympic qualifier at the end of June in Mount Pleasant, showing great promise, Chris Squires said.

“It was a good experience for them to compete against some of the big schools,” said Chris, who was the team manager. “They held their own and learned a lot from that.”

The team wrapped up its season over the weekend during a tournament in Rockford in which approximately 30 teams participated.

The success of Xtreme’s first season have the Squires dreaming of expanding their travel softball team profile. The couple would like to garner enough interest to start a 12 and under softball team. Eventually, Bill Squires said he would like to have teams for 12, 14 and 16-year-old players.

Regardless of how many players decide to compete, Bill said the mission of the team will remain the same.

“It’s all about helping young players develop and letting them experience life and softball outside of school,” he said.