Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

April 19, 2013

Montcalm softball players from past to play for the future

Compiled by Daily Telegraph sports staff
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — It’s been 30 years since Robin Johnston wore a softball uniform for Montcalm High School. On Thursday, May 4, she is planning to do so again, for a good cause.

Montcalm softball’s past will play to benefit its future in an alumni benefit softball game at Tina Casey Field, located across from Montcalm Elementary School, to raise money for girls yet to play for the high school.

Proceeds from admission charges and concessions will go to the Lady Generals softball program, said alumni game organizer Christy Odham. “We’re actually going to donate the food for the concession stand,” she said.

Odham said the returnees are excited about their new opportunity. “We’ve been having practices and we’ve had a wonderful turnout for practices,” she said. “We’ve ordered shirts with numbers and names.”

They are even thinking about continuing on a team and playing in some tournaments.

Montcalm High School started its scholastic softball program in 1975, Odham said. Current MHS softball coach Cindy Havens played on that team. The team switched to fast-pitch in 1981.

In addition to Johnson, Odham expects players from 1984 and 1987 to compete in the alumni event, and has gotten commitments from several of the players from the Lady Generals teams that went to the state tournament in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2001.

They include MHS grads with maiden names of Nicky Havens, Tracey O’Donnell, Ashley Mitchem, Jessica Johnson, Tiffany Cosby, Tonya O’Donnell — and Christy Quillian, now Odham. Their coach, Cindy Havens, will be present, too, but doesn’t plan on playing.

Johnston, from the 1983 team, also played in the MHS alumni benefit basketball game on Feb. 16, and Odham vouched for her being in shape to play softball.

Odham said, “She played basketball with us, so she’s in wonderful shape. She’s a trouper.”

Another participant, Jacqueline Colobro, had to have surgery after she hurt her knee in the hoops contest. Odham said, “But she’s decided she’s playing (in the softball game).”

The basketball game was the real catalyst for the softball effort.

“It was the spark we needed,” Odham said. “We talked about doing it a long time, then these ladies started the basketball game, and we decided we should play.”

First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Odham said, “I am absolutely thrilled to be able to help them out. I love my little school. It means so much to me to go back home and see that little field.”

“I grew up close to that field. Our house was right beside the elementary school. A lot of my upbringing was to go down there and play with my dad. He passed away last year.”

That all adds up to a commitment, she said, “to support them and to show the love they gave me all the years I was there.”

— Contact Tom Bone at

tbone@bdtonline.com