MUNSTER | To play college softball, you need to be talented, determined and peskier than a foraging yellow-jacket.
"Coaches want that from a player," Rick Baker said. "They want someone who has the nerve to come up to them, introduce themselves and ask 'What do you think about me as a player?'
"Teams and coaches need upbeat, confident players ... players who make things happen and who will bring a positive attitude to a program."
Baker is a longtime girls softball coach and instructor. He is the father of former Purdue University record-setting ace Brooke Baker, now the head softball coach for Andrean. The elder Baker runs the NWI Sox softball program.
"For our girls 14 and over, we require them to make resumes of themselves," Baker said. "What teams they played for ... what camps they attended. We even help them put these together if needed.
"You hand these resumes to college coaches you want to play for. You've got to do these things if you want to make a good first impression."
Baker is helping to put together a College Coaches "Let's Play for U" event June 12 at the new softball fields at Community Park in Munster. It's for players who will be in grades 8-12 for the 2014-15 school year.
Coaches from 22 local universities and colleges — including Notre Dame, Valparaiso, Purdue, Purdue-Calumet, St. Joseph's and Calumet College — are tentatively scheduled to participate.
The format will have players assigned to up to eight teams, which will each play four 50-minute games. Each team will have four or five college coaches with them on the field or in the dugout to stop play and instruct during game situations.
Teams will rotate between fields so that every college coach will have a chance to see each player the same amount of time.
"This is something Liz Jagielski and Dave Betcher have been putting together for some time," Baker said of the respective general managers of the Orland Park A's and Hawks Gold Softball.
"Liz used to coach at DePaul, and I know her because she was recruiting Brooke at the time," Baker said. "She's one of the best hitting coaches around.
"I don't know too much about Dave except that he's been around softball for a while and is respected by a lot of coaches."
Baker says this is golden opportunity for local players to get on multiple schools' radars.
"I know some players who are traveling all the way out to Oklahoma for its exposure camp because a lot of girls today want to play for (the University of) Oklahoma," Baker said. "Great, but you're just exposing yourself to one school.
"Here, you'll be seen by more than 20. As far as I know, Northwest Indiana hasn't had anything like this before."