This weekend marks the beginning of the season for many NCAA softball teams. Several NPF players are involved with NCAA softball teams in one way or another. NPF Veteran, Trena Peel is gearing up for her first head coaching debut with Hampton University. Previous to this year she was an assistant coach for 6 time SWAC Champions, Mississippi Valley State.
In her own playing career Peel was a standout at Louisiana State University from 1999-2002 where she garnered several honors including SEC Athlete of the Year in 2002. She began her professional career in 2004 with the Akron Racers where she finished her rookie season with five home runs, three triples, 27 RBI and a league-high 27 stolen bases. She went on to play with the New York Juggernauts (2005), Chicago Bandits (2006) and Philadelphia Force (2007-09) before she headed back to Akron for the 2010 Season.
Meet Akron’s two-time NPF All-Star (2004, 2005) Trena Peel…
Q: What inspired you to begin playing softball?
TRENA: I don’t remember if I ever wanted to play softball but, my mom signed me up and I started playing softball at 4yrs old. I played T-ball with the boys for 2 years before I started to play with girls at 6yrs old.
Q: What are your hopes for fastpitch softball and it’s youth in the future?
TRENA: I hope that I’ve been a part of the grass root process of making this league grow to bigger and better heights. I’m waiting for the day that the ladies in this league can make a living off just playing year around.
Q: With the recent decision of several athletes to be committed to one organization, the NPF, what does that mean for the sport in terms of growth.
TRENA: I am very excited to see all the Olympians are taking the stand to promote the Pro League. The NPF is a great showcase for the best softball players in the nation. I think that they will help to create a stable fan base in every market.
Q: With you being a veteran, what has been your most memorable moment in the NPF?
TRENA: I don’t have one moment that sticks out more than any other. Every time I step out on the field and see the fans and all the little girls watching us, it gives me the chills. It’s such a blessing to have the NPF, which allows so many of us young ladies to play after college.
Q: What are you looking forward to most during the 2011 Season?
TRENA: I’m very excited to start my 8th season as a PRO ATHLETE. Not too many women can say that they’ve played a sport that they love professionally for 8 years. I love how the league is so competitive now. There is so much talent between all the teams. I look forward to seeing all my teammates, putting on a great show for the fans, working with the little girls during camps and clinics, and being a role model for the next generation of softball players.
Q: What is the best advice you have received as a pro?
TRENA: “Play with heart and play with passion. Every night when we step on the field we are here to put on a show.”
I’m naturally a very vocal person that has always played with passion. I played for magnificent coaches at LSU that taught me what “hard work” really is. Everyone who knows me knows that I love the spot light and the camera so, for someone to tell me to “put on a show”, that comes natural to me. When you’re having fun and you love what you do. It no longer feels like a job. It’s just a game.
Q: Describe the Akron fan base and how much they support their hometown team.
TRENA: I started my career in Akron back in 2004. The fan base is the one thing that will always make Akron the best place in the league to play. They have a core of fans that are season ticket holders that know you and make you feel like family. Joey does a great job of scheduling events that let the season ticket holders interact with us as players off the field. Playing in Firestone Stadium in front of a packed house almost every night is by far the best place to play in the league.
Q: What advice would you give an NPF rookie?
TRENA: Never take a day off! Every day that you’re blessed to be able to play this sport post-college, take full advantage of it. Know that there are thousands of college softball players that will never have the experiences that you’re going to have. Remember that every time you step on the field that someone is looking at you. There is a little girl in some city that is going to say I want to be like “#44” when I grow up. Make a name for yourself and be a positive influence.
Q: Did you play any other sports in high school?
TRENA: I played basketball 4yrs, Track 1yr, Soccer 1yr
Q: Championship Series Tickets were released on February 1st....what does it mean to head back to Sulphur? What was the atmosphere like last year?
TRENA: Being that I played at LSU, I always love going back to Louisiana. The Bayou is one of the most unique places I’ve ever lived. I love the food and the culture. Sulphur was a great experience. The fans packed the stands and the atmosphere was awesome.