The Indiana household’s barn helped the group notice their softball ambitions

BOONVILLE, Ind. (AP) – Sean Thomasson has always been a proud girl father.

When his daughters Halee and Ariel first started playing sport ten years ago, he had difficulty finding a place for them to practice softball, especially during the winter and rainy months. However, the girls wanted to learn the game and it was an activity for them to bond with their father.

Thomasson took matters into his own hands as someone who owns land in rural southern and wanted to see his daughters chase their dreams. He built a 25 by 50 foot pole barn with 12 foot ceilings. Its bottom has the same dirt that you find on any outdoor diamond.

Voilà, an indoor softball facility that can be used all year round. A place where the girls could improve.

At that time you could fit 10 of them for running exercises. That is out of the question now that they are women, but the throwing machines and nets are still in place. It’s still being used well.

The family has spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours practicing softball at their facility. And Thomasson trained the younger daughter Ariel until two years ago.

The weekend before Father’s Day in June was the culmination of all the hard work.

“It’s a bit of a cloud nine and it gets you floating a bit,” said Thomasson.

Ariel, a senior pitcher, led Boonville High School to the IHSAA Class 3A Bundesliga Softball Championship with a 1-0 win over Guerin Catholic. It was Boonville’s first title since 2006 – and it happened on a walk-off squeeze bunt in the bottom seventh.

She had nine strikeouts in her bravest performance of the season as the “workhorse” of the Pioneers, her head coach said. Ariel had 188 strikeouts that season. Her ERA was around 1.50. She fired them out of the circle during their postseason run.

The winning is their proudest moment. It’s also one of Thomasson’s proudest as a father.

“He has always trusted me and my sister in all of our sports,” said Ariel. “No matter what we did, he was always there and always supported us.”

Thomasson added, “It’s the greatest emotion and joy I’ve ever seen in softball, and she’s had a pretty good career. It makes me very proud to see what she has achieved. “

You have spent so much time playing softball over the past 10 years. Thomasson got it rolling, and then Ariel started pitching because her older sister was doing it. Eventually she became more passionate about the game than Halee, and she will continue to play collegially at Rose-Hulman.

Thomasson trained them both while their mother, Sherri, said she had taken on the role of “softball mother”, carrying the bags and bringing snacks.

“He was a good trainer, but as you may know, sometimes fathers and daughters don’t get along very well when you are training,” joked Sherri Thomasson. “He has trained her since she was a little girl, together with my brother-in-law, from T-Ball to 4pm. The cooperation between the two worked very well. “

Sean Thomasson and Ariel each admitted that they sometimes hit each other’s heads. It is natural.

“I always know what he wants to tell me is very important. Whether he thinks it or not, I take it to heart, ”said Ariel.

Her father added, “Ariel is a very determined young lady, and once she sets her mind to do something, she wants to achieve it.”

Well, it led to a championship, didn’t it?

Thomasson did his best to fight back tears as they hugged after the game. Ariel was already crying. They had shared a world title in the Travel Softball Championship in Tampa a few years ago, but that was something special. The pioneers brought their community together.

He kept repeating, “I’m so proud of you.”

It was she who instilled the work ethic in Ariel every time she stepped into the circle. She doesn’t let herself be unsettled or frustrated. He taught her to just open the pieces and move to the next pitch when she allows a hit.

The morning after Boonville won – technically the same morning – the Thomassons woke up and drove to Newburgh to see the Boonville feeder softball play at a tournament.

Ariel was still wearing her World Cup shirt and medal. And as she approached the dugout to crouch with the girls, she could see the glow in each of her eyes. They look up at Ariel and her teammates.

At some point their careers will all end – some sooner than others – but they are all role models for the next generation.

“If you don’t have people to look up to, you won’t be interested,” said Ariel. “It really means a lot to me that these girls look up to me.”

And all because she looks up to her father. And because he taught her a game 10 years ago, it had a huge impact on her.

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Source: Evansville Courier & Press

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