Lady Flames share softball skills, Gospel message with area youth
|Dot Richardson, two-time Olympic softball champion and Liberty University softball head coach, instructs local youth in batting technique.|
This past weekend, Liberty University’s women’s softball team offered a free softball clinic and shared the Gospel with young female athletes from the Rustburg Dixie Youth Softball League in nearby Campbell County.
The Lady Flames, led by two-time Olympic softball champion Dot Richardson, partnered with Liberty’s Center for Ministry Training (CMT) last Saturday at Yellow Branch Elementary School to forge relationships with 54 girls, ages 6-15, and more than 50 adults, sharing Christ’s love through sports.
Richardson began the clinic by sharing her approach to softball as well as her testimony.
“The whole team has very strong servants’ hearts,” Richardson said. “The team not only represents this university, but Jesus Christ as well. I see them growing as godly women and as athletes, and it’s so inspiring to see them getting better and better.”
Liberty’s softball team is frequently engaged in community service, offering not only instruction in the fundamentals of softball, but also spiritual discipleship during this fall’s six-week clinic series on Monday nights. The athletes also travel weekly to Bedford County to help provide food to the homeless and serve in multiple other community programs.
|Lady Flames senior starting second baseman Megan Robinson shares her testimony with youth and parents.|
Richardson praised senior starting second baseman Megan Robinson, an All-Big South Conference player and student last spring, when she received third-team NCAA Division I All-Academic honors. On Saturday, Robinson took the opportunity to share Christ with the youth, an experience linking with her heart for serving in urban youth ministry.
“Our big thing is Psalm 104:4: ‘He makes winds his messengers and flames of fire His servants,’” Richardson said. “We want our team to realize that in our quest for excellence and perfection, they must understand that no one is perfect. But in doing what we were born to do, we honor the Lord.”
The team partnered with the nearby Yellow Branch Baptist Church and their pastor, Tim Wilde, providing lunch and Bibles for the young girls, along with the CMT, using the softball clinic as an opportunity to give the female athletes practical ministry experience.
“The CMT vision is to train up students to become multiplying disciple makers and church leaders that are missional Christ-followers who desire to fulfill the Great Commission,” said Dr. David Wheeler, director of the CMT. “As you can see, this event fits in our strike zone.”
Wheeler said that Richardson made a special impact for Christ among the coaches gathered at the elementary school, while the players reached out to the girls as spiritual and athletic mentors.
“The community girls were blessed by the Christ-like personal attention they received from the Liberty players and all the coaches,” Wheeler said. “The real credit goes to Christ and to our softball team and coaches. They were the stars of the day.”
Richardson joined Liberty as its fifth softball head coach in the history of the program in July 2013. As one of the most decorated collegiate, national, and international players in softball history, Richardson has served the Lady Flames with experience gained helping Team USA win gold at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games in Atlanta and Sydney.
- The Lady Flames will be hosting a five-team tournament in their nearly finished Liberty Softball Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 27. Liberty will play three games, taking on Grace College (Ind.) at 10 a.m., Randolph College at 2:30 p.m., and Lynchburg College at 7 p.m.