- January 7, 2015
Some of them started playing together at 10 years old, losing most of their games. But they stuck together and ended up winning five state championships in travel softball tournaments, playing together for about a decade as the Lady Renegades.
The greatest mark of success, though, in coach Kent Zweifel’s mind, is that just about every player who wanted to play at the next level is now playing or committed to a college team, representing Ormond Beach on softball diamonds all around the United States.
“You have to work hard,” Zweifel said, “but it was still about having fun, and that’s what made our team stay together. You can play this game and get burned out if it’s not fun.”
The team learned it was elite when it finished third place in the nation in the 12u Babe Ruth World Series. Even then, though, Zweifel knew his players weren’t winning with pure athleticism but by playing together as a team.
“These girls played for each other,” he said. “It was a family.”
Among the players on the team was Zweifel’s daughter, Shea. (She was named for Shea Stadium, where the New York Mets play baseball; Zweifel and his wife, Ann-Marie, also have a son named Wrigley, named for the stadium where the Chicago Cubs play.)
Kent Zweifel said he was especially hard on his daughter, who for years struggled at the plate and batted last in many games. Then, late in her career with the Lady Renegades, she got contacts and suddenly could see the spin on the ball to judge which type of pitch was coming her way.
Before that, Shea Zweifel said, “I couldn’t tell if it was inside, middle, outside. I just saw a yellow ball, and I swung for it.”
Now, Shea Zweifel bats fifth and is a catcher-outfielder for her junior college team, University of South Carolina-Salk.
“It’s definitely a boost of confidence,” she said, referring to the feeling she had when she first got contacts. “You feel like you can hit, you can play on the team, you’re just as good as everybody else.”
Shea Zweifel also recalled that her father was supportive of all the players on the team. She remembered that he would stick up for them and argue for better calls from umpires, occasionally getting thrown out of the games.
“We always wanted to play harder for him and make sure he knew we respected him and appreciated him for fighting for us,” she said.
“These girls played for each other. It was a family.”
KENT ZWEIFEL, coach
Another player who appreciated Coach Zweifel’s enthusiasm and leadership is Randa Motsinger, who is now a first baseman at Division-I North Carolina Central University.
“Coach seems like a dad,” she said. “I had two knee surgeries in my career, and I remember being in the emergency room, and I called him first — before I called my dad,” she added with a laugh. “He really cared. He would do anything for you. He’s the reason that we’re all where we’re at.”