Teenage softball coaches inspire high school players

Teenage softball coaches inspire high school players

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

It started from an older brother who wanted to help his sister. Hunter Martinez formed West Texas Pride, a travel-tournament softball team consisting of high school girls. 

At 19-years-old, the youngest coach for USSSA softball said he wanted to step up after he saw his sister become discouraged. 

"The girls just didn't like the environment they were in, they left because conflict with coach, parents, drama, everything else like that and my goal was to keep all the drama out of their lives, enjoy the game again, make sure they love the game again," Martinez said. 

He asked his friend, 19-year-old Marcus Salazar to join in on coaching. Coming from a baseball background, Salazar said he took the opportunity to push himself.

"I'm 19-years-old, about to turn 20 in a couple of weeks so I mean it's definitely a challenge having to come out and teach these girls that are maybe a year or two younger than me," Salazar said. "I have to have more expectations for myself than the team."

He said the wanted to combat the negativity the girls faced with past teams. 

"They went through a lot of sitting on the bench, getting reps in the last inning, if that." Salazar said. "We're letting everybody play, we don't have favorites here, we don't know anybody, unless we've coach them before."

Martinez said he was worried they were not going to be taken serious because of their age. 

"The girls appreciate it, I know they do, the parents appreciate it, they looked at us a a little crazy." Martinez said. "Like why are these two kids coaching our girls, and then they started seeing how we work, how we practice everything, and it started progressing really well."

Martinez's sister, Remington said their coaching style works. 

"He's always going to be upping me, pushing me to be my best, but sometimes I just get annoyed with him, like leave me alone." Remington said. "But then I realize he's just there to help me out."

While Martinez said he has noticed both the team's skill and attitude improved, he has also seen a change in himself. 

"It's helped me mature a lot, It's a lot of responsibility to take in, their parents, 11 parents trusting you to take care of their kids, and it's a big responsibility to take and we take that responsibility pretty serious and we take our job pretty serious," Martinez said. 

Through their love of the game, many of the girls are now inspired to pursue coaching as well. 

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