The 2017 Arkansas Army National Guard/Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star Baseball, Softball and Soccer games kicked off a week long of events at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway June 20-21.

The 2017 Arkansas Army National Guard/Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star Baseball, Softball and Soccer games kicked off a week long of events at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway June 20-21.

A couple of Spring Hill's two-time state softball champions' Kelsey Gammage and Taylor Teague both participated in the all-star softball game on the East who defeated the West in their doubleheader showdown at Farris Field on the UCA campus.

Gammage had been an all-star selectee, but Teague got the chance to play after a few players wasn't able to participate and joined her teammate for one final high school softball game before moving onto the collegiate level this coming fall.

They helped the East defeat the West 6-2 and 5-3 in their doubleheader games to be winners in their final high school softball performance despite falling short in the 2A state softball finals back in May.

Gammage and Teague got to play six total innings amongst 22 players on their East team. They roomed together for two days and across from them were two of Rison's players who defeated Spring Hill in the 2017 Class 2A state finals game as their roommates. Gammage and Teague really enjoyed their experience and developed more friendships with several girls present during the time in Conway.

Both Gammage and Teague thought all four of their East All-Star coaches were really good coaching them in preparation to play in the game. Nervousness didn't play a factor for them, but due to having intense and tough practices made the experience similar to collegiate level workouts for a early college freshman caliber feel.

During their senior season for the Lady Bears softball team, Gammage and Teague were awarded seasonal accolades. Gammage earned 2A All-State, 7-2A East All-Conference honors and 2A All-State Tournament Team for postseason awards. Teague earned 7-2A East All-Conference honors. They both got one more opportunity to play under former Spring Hill softball head coach Todd Finley before heading to college to officially wrap up her high school career.

Finley led Spring Hill to the programs' first state title back in 2015 as Gammage and Teague were starters as sophomores for the Lady Bears. Finley left the following season to coach at Bald Knob where they won the Class 3A state title to finish a perfect 35-0 in 2016. Finley was selected as the East All-Star softball head coach for the up coming 2017 All-Star games in Conway.

"It still seemed natural to be coached by him [Coach Finley] and the practices were very normal, but intense. I saw him at our state finals game, but didn't get to talk to him. I thought this last time to be coached by coach Finley was fun and have missed him a lot," Gammage said.

"Our practices were more intense like it was when coach Finley coached us at Spring Hill. He still cracked jokes like before, but had Kelsey and I do extra stuff. We just still had the special bond," Teague said.

It was something unique and special for Gammage and Teague to be reunited with their former head softball coach [Todd] Finley. Gammage and Teague would fall short of winning a third consecutive state title their senior season with Spring Hill in the Class 2A state championship game. Finley's Bald Knob Lady Bulldogs also lost in their Class 3A state finals game as the reigning champs.

As it was bitter sweet back in May for all of them, the trio of Gammage, Teague and Finley all got to officially end softball season 2017 victorious in a reunion together on the diamond's grandest stage as all-stars.

Gammage and Teague got to taste victory in their final high school softball game this season being reunited and guided by their former head coach in their last two experiences together winning first state softball title in 2015 and now as all-stars for 2017.

Finley’s East softball coaching staff consisted of Lisa Dreher of Bryant, Chastan Carpino of Harrisburg, and Deanna Carr of Armorel. Randy Osnes’ West softball coaching staff consisted of Sara Tew of Bauxite, Blue Kesterson of Poyen, and Tamara Strawn of Sheridan.

East All-Star teammate Katlyn Gordon of Beebe was honored as the 2017 AHSCA All-Star softball game MVP for the doubleheader.

The Lady Bear trio of Gammage, Teague and their fellow teammate Kalyne Powell all will continue their softball careers on the collegiate level in the upcoming fall as signees of the class of 2017.

Powell, who signed a National Letter of Intent to play softball at Southeastern Community College in West Burlington, Iowa.

 

Teague signed her NLI at the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville and be apart of the Lady Eagles program.

 

Gammage signed at Northern Oklahoma College to join the Enid Jets softball program.

 

Gammage and Teague believed this experience in Conway leads into some experience of how college life and the atmosphere may bring to be with some of the best talented softball players in the state. It has given them a little taste of how productive college practices and workouts will consist and what to build up for preparation to develop into productive collegiate softball players.

 

"This experience as given Kelsey and I motivation to be better, get in shape and work on fundamentals. We know it's not going to be an easy transition in college because we've got to earn our spots," Teague said.

 

Both Gammage and Teague are multiple position players and made the transition effective as high school players. They both participated in the all-star softball game performing in a variety of positions. Gammage played left field, second base, short stop and Teague positioned as a left and center fielder and at first base.

As they're officially finished out high school softball careers, they feel excited to join their new teammates in college and grasp the experience around all the different talented collegiate players to develop new friendships as well as earning an education.

"I'm excited about meeting the girls in college and being around their talent and different personalities while getting an education at one of the best schools in Oklahoma," Gammage said.

Teague feels very honored to have this opportunity to further her education as well as committing her time to play college softball at the University of the Ozarks. As a lifelong fan of the sport of softball, Teague is privileged all the work put in over the years has paid off to fulfill a dream and goal to compete on the next level.

"This has been something I've been working for my whole life since I decided to play college ball. I've worked all summer to play and feel all the hard work has paid off. I want to work hard and do my best to fit in with the team," Teague said.