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Softball Gem

August 13, 2012 - Robert "Bubba" Kapral
GIVING BACK. It is trait we all should put into practice. Unfortunately, acts of kindness are all too infrequently displayed. Ashley Marinacci is the exception to the norm. The former softball star and current college coach is giving back. She is doing so in heartfelt fashion. Ashley was one of the greatest to ever play softball at St. John Central. That is saying a lot considering the tradition of the Lady Irish. She also was a stellar performer for SJC in basketball. Ashley matriculated to Bethany College, again starring in softball. She is now an assistant coach with the Lady Bison. Ashley has never forgotten her St. John's softball roots or how she attained so much diamond success. She is quick to credit one person — Ben Taylor. Taylor, the former Lady Irish assistant coach -- and Bellaire High assistant prior to that -- came into Ashley's softball life as an eighth grader. Ben helped mold Ashley into a star. He helped hundreds of players to become the best they could be, regardless of what school they played for. I have said many times Ben is the best softball coach I ever become associated with. He knew the game better than anyone, would help anyone and would do anything to give his team an edge to win. Ben is legendary for sleeping in his car on scouting trips. “He played a huge part in where I am at right now,” Ashley. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I’m at and I wouldn’t know nearly all the stuff that I know now." It is a refrain countless others would say about Ben. Ashley and a friend have decided to give back to the softball guru, who passed away in January after a long illness. They are selling black wrist bands with Coach Ben inscribed in red and green thread. They are $8 each. “We’re doing this for Coach Ben because of all he did for us,” she said. All the proceeds from the sales will go to help further enhance Ben’s Field at the I-470c complex. “It’s just a little way to give back to him for everything he did for us as a team,” she continued. “To help make his field better ... there’s no better way to honor Coach Ben.” Ben Taylor always gave back. He was a giver NEVER a taker. Ashley Marinacci has learned that lesson well.


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