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Softball Players Share Skills with Next Generation
At Jennie Finch Clinic


West Windsor, N.J. – Mercer County Community College softball players had a chance to share their skills and passion for the game as volunteers at the Jennie Finch Softball Clinic, held Dec. 8 and 9 in Flemington, N.J.  Finch is an Olympian from the 2004 and 2008 U.S. team, who was joined at the clinic by Olympic teammates Natasha Whatley, Amanda Freed and Crystal Bustos. 

The MCCC players worked with girls ages 8-15 at skill stations that included catching, hitting, receiving ground balls, tagging at the base, pitching, fielding and more. Freshman catcher Kelly Murphy noted that she and her teammates focused on breaking down individual skills and helping the girls learn the right way to do things. 

“When we were young, we would look up to the older girls, and now the younger girls are looking up to us,” Murphy said. Added pitcher Kiele Eichlin, "We were helped along the way, so it's nice to give back."

On the first of the two-day clinic, the MCCC players were joined by players from The College of New Jersey, Temple University and Raritan Valley Community College. On Sunday, the volunteer crew was all Mercer.

Both Eichlin and Murphy have experience as softbal instructors. Eichlin gives pitching lessons and Murphy works at summer softball camps. Eichlin plans to be a physical education teacher and Murphy is hoping to go into special education.

The two players note that Mercer's major presence at the clinic is an example of great team chemistry.  “Within the first two weeks this fall, we could already feel it.  We have a great bond,” Eichlin said.

According to MCCC's Ryan Zegarski, now in his ninth season as head softball coach, this year's roster is strong.  The team played nine games during the fall practice season, but the real test will come when the spring season starts in March.

While clearly hoping for a winning season, Eichlin and Murphy say that their involvement in softball is about so much more. "It's a lesson about life. It’s about commitment, responsibility and time management,” Eichlin explained. Murphy added, “I wouldn’t know what to do without it.”

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Teammates who volunteered at the Finch Clinic included, back row, left to  right, Cyndi Page, Dana Knapp, Stacie Denucci, Erica Benedetti, Brianna Castellano, Emily Price and Michele Anderson; front row, left to right, are Kelly Murphy, Stephanie Canulli and Kiele Eichlin.

Working with Olympians! Pictured from left, standing, are Michele Anderson, Emily Price, Cyndi Page, Olympians Jenny Finch and Natasha Whatley, MCCC's Stacie Denucci and Erica Benedetti, and Olympians Amanda Freed and Crystal Bustos; kneeling are MCCC players Brianna Castellano, Stephanie Canulli, Dana Knapp and Kelly Murphy. Not pictured: Kiele Eichlin.

Catching ground balls with MCCC's Kiele Eichlin.