Annie Shupe, Washingtonville, New York
I love softball because: The smell of my leather glove stays in my nose as i squat behind the plate watching the opposing player step up and dare to hit against my pitcher and test my knowledge of the game. The clay below my feet gives way as i get set in case the runner at first tests my arm and steals second. I look up at the batter to see if her hands are high on the bat getting ready for a sacrifice bunt, or if they are low getting ready to hit. Then i look at the way she stands. I ask myself, does she have an open stance or a closed stance? I look at my pitcher, i tell her to pitch low and away. The pitch comes and i frame it. "STRIKE!" calls the ump. I think to myself "She looks aggravated." So i wait until she is set and i give her high and inside. She shifts back like she’s going to get hit. I smile. STRIKE!. "Now" i say to myself. "Now she is in my game." I tell my pitcher to give her a change-up right down the pipe. She sees that meatball coming and swings for the fences! I stand up and look at her. "STRIKE!" calls out the ump. I did my job.

Why do i love softball? I love softball because it has molded me into the confident young adult i am today. Softball has taken me places many people wouldn't have the chance to go. It has given me my closest friends. My family has grown closer together traveling from place to place. Softball has taught me how to work hard and how to push myself to become a better player, and a better human being. It has also taught me how to be confident and keep my cool in tough situations. Softball has given me a dream to work for, and has given me heroes to show me how to obtain that dream.

Above all softball has given me a life, a beautiful life, and everyday i thank god that he gives me the chance to play another day.

I love softball because it is who i am. It is who i will always be. My love of the game will take me to the top, i can feel it in my heart.

I am Annie, a 17-year-old fastpitch catcher. And i love softball.

Alexis DeLand, Saline, Michigan
I was watching TV with my dad the other night and he asked me what I like most about softball. I sat there for a moment thinking and the only answer I could give him was EVERYTHING. Hitting and fielding, I like it all. Softball is fun for me whether it's 8 am Saturday practice or a weekend full of games in the summer. I can't wait for the season to start so my teammates and I can win some games!