Patterson Park’s softball fields used to sit empty in the summer. Now Trisha Greear sees those same fields full of life, with girls competing, siblings playing catch nearby and families spread out watching the games and practices.
“To me, it’s a dream come true,” said Greear, 45, of Oakwood.
Greear was nominated as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem by Stephanie Ferra, who said that the Patterson Park Youth Baseball organization had no softball teams for more than a decade. Greear created a program for the sport that has meant so much to her personally.
“I loved softball growing up. It’s where I felt at home. It’s where I made really close friends,” said Greear, who played in elementary, junior high and high school.
As the former softball coach at Oakwood Junior High, she noticed that she often had to teach girls the basics, while the boys playing baseball already had those down. With the help and urging of another parent, she set to work starting a softball program at Patterson Park.
Using those vacant softball fields and donated equipment and shirts, the program started in spring 2019 with 60 girls between the ages of 8 and 13. Three years later, as a new season starts in April, Greear expects more than 100 participants ages 18 and younger. Although many are from Oakwood, the teams draw kids from throughout the Dayton area.
Greear not only developed the softball program, but also runs the league, coaches the all-star team and runs clinics for players. Her husband, Matt, also has coached a team with their daughter, Cami, 16, a catcher for Oakwood High School’s varsity team. Son Griffin, 14, supports his mom’s efforts as well.
Greear, who has a law degree and works as an executive assistant in the University of Dayton’s athletics department, said softball taught her that she could be tough. But she also wants her players to be in a supportive atmosphere where they can learn, mess up and try again.
“Which is something that is so important throughout life,” she said.
Ferra, a former member of the Patterson Park Youth Baseball and Softball board, has observed the results of the program firsthand. Ferra’s daughter, Claire, watched her older brothers play baseball and was among the first to join the softball program. Ferra has seen the now 13-year-old Claire become a pitcher, improving in confidence and perseverance.
Greear helps both current and former players improve their skills, said Ferra, of Oakwood, who plans to remain involved in the park’s softball operations.
“That’s a testament to her dedication to the girls of the community, to the sport and to wanting people to reach their full potential,” Ferra said.
She praised Greear’s initiative, as well as the time, effort, energy and late hours she has dedicated toward shaping the softball league. Her efforts allowed the program to rise from nothing.
“She didn’t take over a program,” Ferra said. “She created one.”
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