Get your pens, pencils and scorecards ready – it’s Softball All-Star season! Peñasquitos Girls Softball Association (PQGSA) is focused on having fun while developing recreational players into competition level athletes. The goal of introducing new players to the game of softball is also a highlight PQGSA prides itself on. Local girls ages five to 14 are taught the importance of working together as a team to accomplish goals through hard work, confidence and sportsmanship. Whether the players remain at the recreational level or go on to play on travel, high school or college teams, they learn lessons that will help them throughout their lives. There is a clear commitment to providing excellent training during every season of league play. As the spring recreational season has wrapped up, the association is gearing up for an exciting All-Star season that will lead in to a highly anticipated winterball program. If you ask any of these girls if they’re fired up, they will likely reply, “YES, WE’RE FIRED UP!”
What is the history behind PQ Girls Softball Association (PQGSA)?
Peñasquitos Girls Softball Association is a Youth Recreational “B” level girls fast pitch softball organization. PQGSA was founded more than 20 years ago. Our primary season is the spring recreational season. We also have a winterball program and a summer All-Star season. Our All-Star teams have a long history of excellence. We typically field two teams for each age division, sometimes three. Our gold level team is known as PQ Lightning.
PQ Lightning Team Accomplishments:
3 National Championships
4 National finalists
17 Top 5 finishes
25 Top 10 finishes
28 Teams sent to ASA Western Nationals since 1992
The season begins with practices on Feb. 1. Teams have three softball activities per week between practices and games. We also offer several clinics during the season to help with pitching and catching, and we have some special activities such as ASA Softball day at Petco Park. The emphasis on Rec Ball is to teach softball and develop players and have as much fun as possible while doing it. The recreational season games last until the end of April or beginning of May depending on the calendar.
Describe the typical winter ball softball season
The season is more of a hybrid of the Spring Rec season and All-Stars. Girls play by All-Star rules with an emphasis on competitive play. Girls practice one day per week and play a double-header games on Sundays. The season goes from mid-August until the beginning of November. Games are played against other leagues and teams play at Canyonside or travel to other parks in North San Diego. Unlike All-Stars, Winterball is open to all players. Previously, our Winterball program was by invitation only, but it was important to me to open the game up to include every girl who wishes to play. We were able to do that this past season and it was a great success. In my opinion, the more girls who are out on the fields playing, the better. And Winterball allows girls who may not make an All-Star team the chance to have an All-Star type experience without the intensive time and financial commitment. Softball is similar to baseball in that the more you practice and play, the better you become. For those girls who just love the game and want to keep improving, our Winterball program is a great opportunity.
The All-Star season is currently underway. Tell us about this season and how a girl becomes part of an All-Star team.
All-Stars is completely separate season from the Rec season. Games begin in late May and can continue until the first week of August. Rec season managers will recommend or nominate the top few players from each team to participate in a try-out. The All-Star manager in each age division holds a tryout for this group of players. The manager then selects the 12 girls to represent PQ Softball and play for the PQ Lightning team. Girls who do not make the Lightning team will then have a chance to be selected for the Thunder and Bolts teams. Not all girls will make a team, but it’s important for them to know that they were exceptional players to have been nominated for the try-out.
The PQGSA is dedicated to the development of maturity and the achievement of success through a program of action for our girls. The building of character and molding of personality transcends the acquisition of athletic skills or the winning of games. The primary concern of PQGSA is to help prepare today’s girls for active leadership roles as the citizens of tomorrow.
Our All-Star teams play in several tournaments during the summer both in the San Diego area and in LA and Orange Counties. Our Lightning teams play in the North San Diego District Tournament in June. If they do well, they will advance to the Socal ASA States Tournament in Lancaster. If they win at States they will advance to the ASA Western National Tournament, which is held in different locations, usually out of state. Each age division plays in a different location at Nationals.
What sets the PQGSA program apart from other recreational girls’ softball leagues?
Our winning tradition. We are a highly competitive league, but we are open to girls of all abilities. Our coaches know that the best way to win is to make sure that all girls are able to contribute to the team. Our coaches are always willing to go the extra mile and help all of the girls. We are also like one big family. At any given game, at any age level, you will see girls and parents from other teams and age groups watching and cheering on other teams. Once girls play on a team together, they continue to support each other even when they are on different teams. There is a strong sense of community and family with our players and families.
Players and families should expect to be welcomed as family, not matter where they live or what their softball ability. We are here as a service to the girls in our community and beyond. We are a place where girls can come and enjoy showcasing their athletic abilities and still be girls. We know that the most important part of sports for girls is the social interaction. Girls are able to enjoy being a part of a team, having fun with singing cheers and wearing hair bows and still be able to compete as the athletes they are.
What are the fees involved? Is there a fundraising fee upon registration? What does this entail?
Our fees are very competitive for recreational sports. Our T-Ball program is only $25 to play. The other age groups are $130. Winterball registration is $95 for all age groups. (There is no T-Ball division in Winterball.) The All-Star teams typically run about $400, plus travel costs. There are no individual fundraisers required for Rec or Winterball. We supplement the cost of playing with corporate sponsors and we host the PQ Memorial Day Classic All-Star tournament each year which is our biggest fundraiser. Families who participate in the All-Star program are required to volunteer during the tournament.
What is your role as President and how did you and your family get involved?
When I moved to Rancho Peñasquitos six years ago, my daughter was five years old and I knew I wanted to sign her up to play softball. I found PQ Softball on the internet. I played college softball at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, CA. I knew when my daughter was born that I wanted to share my love of the game with her. I wanted to take all of the positive elements of when I played and try to minimize or eliminate the negative things that I experienced. After watching her play T-Ball and seeing that she loved softball like me, I knew that I had a lot to offer the league so I stepped up and volunteered. I became a manager, joined the board as the webmaster and eventually volunteered as the president.
As the president, in addition to administrative tasks, I really like to focus on walking the fields, watching games and listening to parents. I have tried to take the complaints I hear the most and make changes to keep the league improving. Our main goal is to teach the girls of PQ the game of softball and to make sure they have fun.
What is your number one goal as the president of PQGSA?
My main goal is to instill the love of the game that I have into each and every girl in PQ.
What is the most rewarding thing about being your role? The most challenging?
Seeing the smiles on the girls faces as they play the game. I love pulling into Canyonside on a Saturday morning seeing games being played on all of the fields.
The hardest part has been giving up managing a team so I could focus on the league as a whole. I volunteered so I could work with the girls and make sure they have a positive experience. I’m just doing it at a different level now.
If you could grant the Association one wish, what would that be?
I would have every girl in PQ ages five to 14 play for PQGSA.
Each team in the Spring Recreational season secures a corporate sponsor which helps to keep the cost of playing down. Our big fundraiser each year is hosting the PQ Memorial Day Classic All-Star Tournament. This year we hosted 65 teams from 10 different leagues at Canyonside over Memorial Day weekend. It’s a tremendous amount of work but it is also a great time.
Tell us about the volunteers who allow for the Association to be so successful. How does one go about volunteering their time? Do you have specific volunteer openings that need to be filled?
Our organization is run 100% by volunteers. It takes hundreds of volunteers to keep our girls on the fields playing ball. Each team needs at least four volunteers, a manager, coach, team parent and scorekeeper. In addition, we have volunteers who coordinate schedules, registration, our Winterball and All-Star programs, special events, fields, equipment and many others. I am lucky in that I have had the best help with all of our volunteers. I am very grateful to all of the coaching staffs, board members and other families who have stepped up and helped with everything from raking and prepping fields, painting benches and backstops all the way to the parents who work directly with the girls at every game.
We are always looking for more volunteers to help with our organization. We are in the process now of seeking our board members for the next year. Anyone interested in volunteering can go to our website to read job descriptions and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org letting us know you are interested in helping out.
Have you had any of your players go on to play in college level? If so, explain.
There are too many to list! As far as current college players, here are some. It is pretty special to be able to turn on the TV and watch our PQ girls playing softball at the national level:
- Lauren Gellerman – Ohio
- Alix Johnson – Arizona State (NCAA All-American)
- Kellie Fox – Arizona
- Sasha Marguilies – Ball State
- Shannon Tillet – Miami of Ohio
- Monique Portugal – UCSD
- Maggie Doremus – Oregon State
- Vanessa Currie – Sonoma State
- Regina Norris – Drury
Full Name: Peñasquitos Girls Softball Association
Year of Establishment: 1987
Board Meetings: 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month at Canyonside Rec Center
[/tab] [tab title=”2013 Winter Ball & Spring Season”]
Registration Opens Aug. 1
Games begin in September and run through October or November.
# of players: 300
# of teams: 23
# of coaches: 100
# of volunteers: 100+
Age range: 5 – 14 years old
2012 Winter Ball Season
# of players: 100+
# of teams: 7
# of coaches: 30
Age range: 7 – 14[/tab] [tab title=”2013 All-Star Schedule“]
May 31 – June 2, Thousand Oaks WAGS Summer Slam
June 7 – 9, Santee Bring on the Heat Tournament
June 14 – 16, Fountain Valley Summer Classic
June 21 – 23, ASA North San Diego District Championship or June 22 – 24, UC Del Sol Tournament Del Sol
June 28 – 30, Escondido Freedom Tournament
July 5 – 7, ASA State Championships in Lancaster (if qualify)
July 30 – Aug. 4, ASA Western National Championships (if qualify)[/tab] [/su_tabs]