Commissioners grow Carmel Pups softball program


As a parent of two daughters who played in the Carmel Pups softball program, Nicole Potts has appreciated the countless volunteer hours Amanda and Eric Derheimer have put in as commissioners.

Potts said the program has been thriving since the couple took over as commissioners two years ago.

“We just love that Carmel is growing their own program and having these opportunities for the kids,” Potts said.

The Derheimers initially got involved with the softball program because their oldest daughter, Lilly, 13, played for the Pups for three years.

“Our youngest daughter was interested in playing as well, but there were no travel teams at that level,” Amanda said. “So, we wanted to give it a try and grow the program. At that time, there was only a 10U team and a 12U team.”

Eric has been the head coach of the 8U team the past two years, coaching his daughter, Rosie, who recently turned 9 years old. He will continue to coach the 9U team this fall.

There were seven teams this past season, which ended earlier this month. There were four teams in their first year as commissioners.

Eric said they knew there was potential for more teams because of the number of girls playing in the Carmel Dads’ Club recreational softball league.

“There wasn’t a program focused on developing the individual teams. It was more on the individual players,” Eric said. “One thing we’ve tried to do is focus on the program and make sure we have a pipeline of teams.”

Amanda said they knew other programs had 8U teams.

“We knew there is an advantage to starting and developing them when they’re young,” Amanda said.

Amanda said previously the younger girls who wanted to play travel softball were either staying in the CDC recreation league or playing for other programs.

Amanda said there were approximately 75 girls in the Pups program this past season. There were two 8U,  one 9U, two 10U and two 12U teams.  The season begins in August and ends in early summer. The main season is spring and early summer.

Eric said the goal is to eventually have one or two teams per birth year. For the 2024-25 year, there will be teams at 8U, 9U, two teams at 10U, 11U, 12U and 13U.

Amanda said the teams train and practice all year.

The Derheimers have collaborated with the Carmel High School softball program to build relationships and create player camps.

“We’ve had clinics with the high school team, and there’s been clinics for our coaches,” Amanda said. “We’re trying to build a community where girls are playing with us and then they’ll be ready to play with the high school.

Pups players are offered the opportunity to be “bat girls” during the CHS games.

“The girls get to be in the dugout with the older girls, and they love it,” Amanda said.

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