HUNTINGTON — Marshall University softball freshman infielder Sydney Chapman hit ground balls and fungos to a collection of young players Saturday at Dot Hicks Field and many, if not most of them, figure to one day join the former Cabell Midland High School star in the college ranks.

The West Virginia Diamond Dusters, who formed in 1994, have produced more than 90 college softball players, sending standouts to Marshall, the University of Tennessee, Virginia Tech, University of Kentucky, Morehead State University and several other schools.

Longtime area softball coach Larry Verbage oversees the Diamond Dusters program and said he was excited about the young players and their coaches on the field Saturday. Verbage said he takes pride in seeing local girls succeed in national tournaments the way the Diamond Dusters have.

"Our team is special because we have such a small area to choose our players from compared to most other programs," Verbage said. "Being from West Virginia, and not thought of as a softball powerhouse, we always feel like we have to prove ourselves."

-The Herald-Dispatch


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