The Drill: Bailey Ponto lines up behind the family sport
If the Worthington 18U Storm softball team was one big family this summer, part of that was literally true. Coach Rachel Ponto's daughters Taylor and Bailey were part of the team this year -- Taylor a legitimate 18-year-old and Rachel just 14. But Bailey, this week’s Drill subject, doesn’t play like a 14-year-old on an 18U team. She’s a key player at bat and in the field, where you’ll usually find her at shortstop.
WORTHINGTON -- Make a mistake on the Worthington 18U girls fast-pitch softball team, and you’ll probably get chided by your teammates.
But it’s a good-natured chiding. It’s the kind of chiding that happens in families -- a little joke at your expense, and then everyone smiles.
When the Storm’s head coach, Rachel Ponto, talked this year about her summer 18U players, she sounded very much like a den mother. Proud of the way her team performed with a minimum of coaching direction and a hefty dose of self-starting, self-sustaining acumen, the kids made summer fun.
They posted a winning record during the regular season. Last weekend they ended their season in the state tournament with a one-run loss to Springfield and a 7-0 setback to a team called the Gamblers.
If the Storm was one big family, part of that was literally true. Rachel’s daughters Taylor and Bailey were part of the team this year -- Taylor a legitimate 18-year-old and Rachel just 14. But Bailey, this week’s Drill subject, doesn’t play like a 14-year-old on an 18U team. She’s a key player at bat and in the field, where you’ll usually find her at shortstop.
Having watched her older sister, Sydney, play fast-pitch softball when she was younger, and playing alongside Taylor, life on a softball diamond is a happy time for Bailey, who looks up to them both.
“The people who inspire me most are probably my sisters. I just have been looking up to them my whole life,” Bailey said.
Good thing Bailey enjoys fast-pitch softball. In fact, she says she loves it.
“It’s a really fun sport,” she explained recently. “I really like playing with the older kids, it’s a lot better of an experience.”
The Globe talked softball with Bailey while the team was still racking up victories in the regular season. You can see the video online at www.dglobe.com . Here’s a sampling of the interview:
QUESTION: One would think you’ve gotten a pretty good education about fast-pitch softball living with you mom and your sisters.
ANSWER: “My mother has been my coach most of my life, and she’s taught me most of the stuff I know for softball. My mom is not afraid to tell me if there’s something I’m doing wrong, but she usually does it in a nice way.”
QUESTION: Have you got a favorite sports memory? One that you’re likely to remember for a long time?
ANSWER: “My favorite memory in softball is probably this last year in South Dakota. We had a tournament and we were in the championships. It was a tie game most of the time, and they got ahead by two or three runs. Then at the end of the game we took pictures with the other team, and it was just a lot of fun. We got a lot of friendships out of that.”
QUESTION: What’s the most unusual thing about you that most people don’t know?
ANSWER: “The most unusual thing about me that most people don’t know is I show cattle and I’m in 4-H. And I really like it, ‘cuz after you get the calf to actually like you, it’s like a really good bond.”