MCCC Softball Players Volunteer
Alongside Olympians


West Windsor, N.J. - Teaching youngsters is rewarding enough, but for Mercer County Community College softball players Alyssa Becker (Fairless Hills, Pa.), Jenna Berger (Fairless Hills, Pa.), Kristine Funk (Bordentown, N.J.) and Jessica Maciolek (Hamilton, N.J.), their important work came with an added personal benefit -- tutelage from Olympic players.

On Dec. 6, the Vikings players volunteered for the Jennie Finch Softball Academy at Diamond Nation's 65-acre campus in Flemington, N.J. The four joined other collegiate players who worked alongside Finch, one of the most famous softball players in U.S. history and a 2004 Olympic gold medalist and 2008 silver medalist; three-time gold medalist Lea O'Brien-Amico; and 2008 silver medalist Andrea Duran.

MCCC pitcher Jenna Berger with Jennie Finch

The day-long event instructed youngsters on a variety of softball skills, including fielding, throwing, pitching and both infield and outfield work."It was a lot of fun," says Berger, who worked at the outfield station.

"The kids would just rotate around and we would tell them what drill they were going to do and then teach them. … They seemed to know what they were doing. , we taught the little kids how to do it. And that was good; they got it."

Berger is a sophomore pitcher for Head Coach Ryan Zegarski's highly successful MCCC softball program. Funk is a sophomore third baseman, Maciolek a sophomore shortstop and Becker a freshman outfielder. The four are key members of a Vikings squad that in 2010 will try to build on last season's 35-8 record.

While the MCCC players enjoyed instructing the youngsters of all ages, they also absorbed the skills and dedication of the Olympians. Maciolek took plenty of photos, too. "Like paparazzi," Berger laughs.

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