ASSA Girls Softball Clinics for coaching and pitching set for week of December 26

Fast Pitch League to begin tomorrow
The three Ricketts sisters, who are the granddaughters of the late Lewis and Louisa Ripley Gabbard of Tafuna and Leone villages, respectively. They will be conducting coaching and pitching clinics for local high school girls interested in Softball. [courtesy photo]

(BASED ON A PRESS RELEASE) — The American Samoa Softball Association (ASSA) has been given an unique opportunity this year as three Division 1 Samoan Softball players from one family currently working and playing in the states have agreed to visit American Samoa and conduct coaching and pitching clinics for local high school girls interested in the sport of Softball. 

The Ricketts sisters, Samantha, Stephanie and Keilani are the granddaughters of the late Lewis and Louisa Ripley Gabbard of Tafuna and Leone villages, respectively. They were born and raised in San Jose, California to parents, Jeff and Carol Gabbard Ricketts and have always expressed an interest in visiting the birthplace of both of their grandparents. 

They saw this as an opportunity to do two things: give back to the community that hosts their basic culture and values as well as learn about where they come from. 

This effort is being coordinated with the support and partnership of the Samoa Bowl Committee, AS Baseball Association and the American Samoa National Olympic Committee.  The hope is to revive interest in this sport in order to attract talented athletes who can begin training to represent American Samoa in the next Pacific Games to be held in Papua New Guinea in 2015 representing the National Girls Softball Team.

In the meantime, as our local high school softball league has just ended, ASSA in partnership with Department of Parks and Recreation will be hosting a Fast Pitch League beginning tomorrow, Saturday, December 17, 2011.


There will be many activities hosted by Samoa Bowl that have been designed to educate all participants to understand what “Back to the Roots” is all about.

From witnessing the traditional Ava Ceremony, learning the Siva Samoa and listening to brief stories by local elders about the culture and its traditions, the hope is each participant will walk away with a better understanding of what is means to be Samoan and how proud they should be to represent American Samoa in their future lives.   

For further information on Samoa Bowl activities contact Mel Purcell at 254-5899; for Softball clinics, please contact Larry Sanitoa or ASNOC office at 699-8855.


Highlights of Ricketts Sisters Softball Careers for ASSA

by S. Gabbard  


Class: Junior at Oklahoma University, OK

Hometown: San Jose, CA

High School: Archbishop Mitty HS

Height:  6’2”

Position: Left Handed Pitcher

Recent Career Highlights:  

Winning Pitcher for Team USA who won Gold Medal @ 2011 Pan American Games-Guadalajara, Mexico; Member of US Women’s National Softball Team who won 2011 World Cup of Softball (recorded two wins and got the title clinching save);

Named to 2011 NFCA All-American first team; 2010 and 2011 All-Big 12 first team selection; 2010 Big 12 Championship Most Outstanding Player; Earned Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors on Feb. 23rd, Apr 13 and May 4, 2010 and Feb. 15 and May 10, 2011. Holds Oklahoma single season strikeout record (452 in 2011).


Class: Senior @ University of Hawaii-Manoa

Hometown: San Jose, CA

High School: Archbishop Mitty HS

Height:  6’0”

Position: Right Handed Pitcher/First Base

Recent Career Highlights:  

Posted a 22-11 record and had her best statistical season as Rainbow Wahine with sing-season bests in ERA (1.58), complete games (30), shut-outs (9), and strike-outs (250) while holding opponents to a .193 batting average; Broke former UH All-American Brooke Wilkins’ 16-year old career strike out record with 589Ks; also became just the second Rainbow Wahine to win at least 20 games in three consecutive seasons; for her career, is now ranked second in the UH record books with 74 wins, named WAC Pitcher of the Week twice (Feb. 14 and May 9, 2011) became the first Hawaii pitcher to ever earn two WAC Pitcher of the Year awards; became just the 12th Rainbow Wahine to earn 2011 Easton All-American honors.


Position:  Asst. Softball Coach @ Witchita State, Kansas; previous:  First Base

Graduated: University of Oklahoma/Masters Degree in Intercollegiate Athletic Admin

Career Highlights:

2 time All American status at OU; Played for Sooners 2006-2009; last 2 years with coaching staff @ OU; Played professional softball for Akron Racers in 2009 and 2010 after being selected as the 12th overall pick in the 2009 National Pro Fastpitch Senior Draft.  She started in 192 consecutive games as a Sooner and ended her career as the Big 12 career leader in runs batted in; currently holds record at OU for single season RBIs (190) and set record for most home runs in 2008 with most career homeruns (48). She was a four-time All-Big 12 first-team selection and a two-time academic All-Big-12 first


To make comments, you will need to register. You can register under your real name or use a 'screen' name. This way, people will be able to follow comments and make comments back and forth to each other. If you choose to use a 'screen name' no one will know your true identity. In either case, no email addresses will be available to anyone. It is an automated process. If you have questions, email: webmaster@samoanews.com

You currently are not logged in, please LOGIN to post comments.