By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
It's not unusual in youth sports to glance down the list of coaches and see everyone shares a name with a player on the team. Parents coaching youth sports is nothing new.
But when Bill Brennan, manager of the River Valley Valkyries Amateur Softball Association team, had his team put together, he decided that he didn't want any parents on his coaching staff.
Instead, he brought in a coaching staff that knows about sports.
Ty Keefer, son of current Milton softball head coach Bill Keefer, in addition to two former Milton athletes -- basketball standout Samantha Hare (2008-2011) and softball star Kelley Pfleegor (2006-09) -- agreed to help Brennan coach his ASA team.
"(They) had success in the Milton program and would be good role models," Brennan said. "If it wasn't for them, I don't know if we'd have this success. The girls really bonded to Sam and Kelley, and that's helped."
That success the Valkyries had this season has them playing for the 18-and-under ASA Eastern National championship, starting July 24 in Canton, Ohio. The Valkyries earned a berth to the Eastern National championships after winning the state final in Sunbury. The Eastern National championship lasts four days, ending July 28.
"It's more of a reward for the girls for hard work. Our pitchers and catchers have been working since January as a group and really, this is a travel tournament for them to kind of have fun as a group," Brennan said. "Any success we have at nationals is a plus. We're not going there with the idea that we can win nationals. I'm sure we have a good shot at it, but it's a reward for the girls."
Milton's Bethany Brennan is one of the few who has experience at the national level, going that far the past two summers in ASA.