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Good Hope softball makes hitting facility dream into a reality

Posted Date: 03/07/2024

At this time last year, Good Hope softball coach Dustin Mathews and his staff were riding a bus to the middle school state tournament.

Granted, it was only to ULM, but he wanted his team to get the full experience of playing in a state tournament. He rented a charter bus and rode around a couple of hours to let the girls experience the moment of playing in a state tournament – similar to what the Lady Colonels hope to do as players on the high school level.

While the players visualized their futures, the coaching staff started their own discussion about how the team and program could improve. That almost immediately turned into a brainstorming session on fundraising because Mathews knew the first thing the Lady Colonels needed was a hitting facility.

“They said, ‘How are we going to do that?’ and I said, ‘We’re going to fundraise,’” Mathews said. “We started a Booster Club, and the parents came together and started having fundraisers, and then the community came together and our administration backed us.”

The first quote Mathews received for a hitting facility was around $80,000. It did not deter him. In fact, he and the group of supporters raised a good chunk of it, and then rolled up their sleeves.

“We said, ‘Let’s get after it,’” Mathews said. “One Saturday, we poured the concrete and that’s when some companies jumped in, and it just kept going. This whole thing was put up by parents.”

Companies that supported the project included Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union, CED, River City Ready Mix, D&J Construction, JTB Rentals and Origin Bank.

“Here, you face a lot of girls that throw really hard and just some really good pitchers,” Mathews said. “None of the coaches can emulate what the pitchers are doing, so a lot of times we’re just trying to hit off a machine. We can soft toss to them, but I can’t emulate that speed that they’re going to face in the game.”

The hitting facility was officially complete in January just in time for the softball season and only 10 months after Mathews originally mentioned the start of his wish list. The next thing to make a reality is a sprinkler system, which will be installed later this spring.