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PFX Athletics is a non-profit organization dedicated to opening the doors of opportunity to women and girls through sport. We currently focus on girls’ and women’s fastpitch softball. Read “Our Story,” below, for the history of PFX Athletics.
In 2014, PFX Athletics was honored to be chosen by South Lake Hospital, Lake County, and Lake Sumter State College to manage the softball complex at Legends Way Ballfields at the National Training Center in Clermont, Florida. PFX Athletics intends to utilize the Legends Way Ballfields at the National Training Center to provide opportunities – directly and indirectly – to women and girls in fastpitch softball throughout the World by hosting and promoting local, State, National, and International softball events and training at the Legends Way Ballfields at the National Training Center. Today, the largest event at the NTC Softball Complex is THE Spring Games, a collegiate softball event held annually in February and March.
As a nonprofit organization, PFX Athletics is proud to have the opportunity to help women and girls make their dreams come true in the sport of fastpitch softball. To learn more about our charitable programming for softball, check out our Blog or follow us on Facebook.
Alison Strange graduated from Stetson University, where she played college softball (right field and catcher) for the Hatters. After graduation, she continued at Stetson to earn her Masters in Business Administration and Juris Doctor. After her post-graduate studies, Ms. Strange moved to Clermont, Florida where she began her law practice while also touring with the Pro-Fastpitch X-treme Tour (PFX Tour), a professional softball organization, for two years. Seven years later, she returned to softball to manage the Legends Way Ballfields and lead the PFX Athletics team.
Bob Borak II
Bob Borak has been serving high school and college softball for over 30 years as a fastpitch softball umpire and tournament director for women’s and girls’ events. As an official, he called National championships at all levels; today, Mr. Borak serves the PFX Athletics staff by overseeing tournaments (including the Southern Challenge, the Dot Richardson NCSI, and THE Spring Games), acting as a liaison for softball tournament directors who host events at the Legends Way Ballfields, and generally being our “go to” guy for all things fastpitch softball.
Coach Rotta comes to PFX with over 17 years coaching college softball. Coach Rotta oversees programming at PFX Athletics, which includes softball camps and clinics, private and small group softball lessons, Team PFX women’s fastpitch softball tournaments and teams, Team PFX college prep teams, and developmental programming for fastpitch softball (ages 6-12). Coach Rotta is always looking for people (players and parents) who are passionate about fastpitch softball (whether for girls or women) to assist her with the number of events and activities for which she is responsible.
During her college years, Ms. Frydrych worked with Mr. Borak and Dr. Dot Richardson in the early years of THE Spring Games, where she learned about facility and event management and customer service. A former college softball player herself, she loves fastpitch softball and is familiar with the customs, norms, and history of the industry. After completion of her college studies, Ms. Frydrych worked for six years in public parks facilities and event management before returning home to Central Florida and PFX Athletics and Legends Way Ballfields.
We are very excited to provide all of our guests with award-winning fare at our Legends Way Cafe. Mr. Shindoll is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. More than just hamburgers and hot dogs (though they, too, are fantastic), Legends Way Cafe provides healthy and affordable choices to satisfy your hunger and thirst while playing or watching games. Be sure to say “hi” to our friendly concessions crew while you are at the fields!
We can’t thank Dr. Jones enough for the time and resources that he volunteers to PFX Athletics. Dr. Jones holds a Doctorate degree in Sports Business and is vital in helping us keep Legends Way Ballfields a topnotch facility. His background in sports and as a licensed general contractor mean that he not only loves what we do at the ballfields, but also knows exactly how to make sure we stay ahead of the game when it comes to providing you with first class facilities!
Instructor and Coach
Danielle DeFeo came to us first as a player in the summer of 2015 after she graduated from the Stevens Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. At one point in her career, Coach DeFeo was ranked top-10 in DIII college softball offense for highest batting average and was named to several all-Conference softball teams. A role model for young girls as both an athlete and a student, she works with slappers on the Team PFX college prep team and through our instructional programs. Coach DeFeo is available for lessons.
Ms. Fernandez first joined Team PFX in 2015 when she volunteered her time to help with event and activity promotions. From there, she was vital in the process of designing and creating our Team PFX college softball prep team for which she currently serves as team mom. Ms. Fernandez also provides administrative support in our online shop, document and file maintenance, and volunteer coordination and fundraising efforts.
Speed & Agility Training
It’s called FASTpitch softball for a reason! Tristan Walker first worked with us at the 2015 Spring Games and we haven’t let him go since! A local South Lake resident, Coach Walker is in training for the 2016 Olympic Games in Track & Field (he runs the 100m and 200m). We figure he knows a thing or two about speed! He works with our Team PFX college prep team and is also available for private and small group softball lessons.
Florida Professional Officials Association
We are proud to be in partnership with Florida Professional Officials Association. If you are interested in umpiring our
Spring Games, please contact Bob Borak for more information.
Instructor and Coach
Our story begins in Orlando, Florida in 1968 with a little girl, only 6 years old, watching the Olympic games. Glued to the television, between the black and white pixels, she watched as Bob Seagren, an American pole-vaulter, battled his way to an Olympic gold medal in what was then one of the most exciting match-ups in the event’s history. As he stood on the podium and the official put the gold medal around his neck, the television crew scanned the Mexico City crowd to show the American flags being waved by fans and the crowd chanting: “USA, USA, USA . . .”
That night, she had a dream. She saw the crowds and the red, white, and blue banners and she heard them chanting “USA, USA, USA.” The only difference was, when the athlete stood up with the gold medal, it was not Bob Seagren on the podium. It was her.
That was the dream that started Dorothy Richardson on her epic journey to Olympic gold. “Dottie,” as she was called then, could not shake that dream of being an Olympic gold medalist. It started with baseball. Dot (as she later became known) had two brothers of close age and she would play baseball with them at the local park. Of course, the boys always picked her first (she was the best in the league!) but she was never allowed to play in a real game. Back then, remember, girls were not allowed to play baseball – especially not with the boys!
Until one day in 1971 when everything changed.
After being rejected from yet another baseball team because of her gender, young Dot was approached by a female at the ballpark who asked her if she was interested in practicing with their team. Always up for a new experience, young Dot said “yes” and took a few ground balls at third base. When the coach invited her to join the team, she was shocked to learn that Dot was only ten years old . . . the average age on the Union Park Jets (a women’s majors team) was 22. Still, with permission from her parents, Joyce and Ken, Dot became the youngest woman to play women’s majors fastpitch softball.
But her athleticism was not exclusively reserved for softball. As a young adult, Dot enjoyed all sports including tennis, track, basketball, and others. Of all the sports she played, though, it was softball that she loved. The challenge, of course, is that in the 1970s (when she was in high school and preparing for college), softball was not an Olympic sport. How, then, would she ever live her dream of being an Olympian if softball was not in the Olympics?
Resolute in her commitment and unwavering despite the odds, Dot pursued her passion in the sport of softball. In 1979, she became the youngest woman to represent the United States of America in international play when she was selected to compete in the Pan American Games and earned her first gold medal . . . could that have been her dream fulfilled, she wondered? It was a gold, but not the Olympic gold. She did not give up.
Softball kept her busy traveling the World and carried her away from home in Florida to California where she earned a scholarship to UCLA and won four (4) National Championships. She played her summers in Stratford, Connecticut with the Raybestos Brakettes or the United States of America and continued to do so after college. By then, Dot measured her softball career – and her educational opportunities – in four year increments:
In 1988 Dot earned her master’s degree in exercise physiology from Adelphi University. With faith that her dream was her destiny, Dot prayed that softball would be announced to be in the Olympics in 1992. Not quite ready to give up on her dream, she decided a post-graduate study of medicine would buy her some more time (“why not?” some would say, she’s always wanted to help people). To medical school she went . . . waiting for that fateful announcement to come.
It did not.
The 1992 Olympics came and went without softball joining the games. Still in medical school and now thirty years old, Dot thought her dream of being an Olympic gold medalist may have been just that: a dream. She decided she would wait four more years.
In 1995, as Dot was entering her residency as an orthopaedic surgeon and just starting to accept that she may have to hang up her spikes, the International Olympic Committee announced that softball would be in the 1996 Olympic Games. It would be the 100th Olympic Summer Games and they would be in Atlanta Georgia, USA. With all her travels abroad to represent the United States (in Holland, Australia, Japan, Puerto Rico, China, Venezuela, Mexico, Canada . . . the list goes on), the first Olympic softball games would be held in her backyard, less than 500 miles from her home town.
After representing the United States in international competition for sixteen years, was Dot finally on the verge of living her dream?
From here, most newspapers, magazines, and wiki-pages have covered “the rest of the story.” Dot went on to lead the Americans at short-stop and hit the first homerun in Olympic softball history as well as the last of the 1996 Games (the one that would ensure the United States the first ever gold medal in our sport). What most media did not report, because they could not have known, was what Dot realized in that fateful moment. As she stood on the podium with the gold medal around her neck in Atlanta, Georgia that summer, she looked around the stadium and took in her surroundings:
Her parents and family cheering her on
The fans waving American flags
The chants: “USA, USA, USA . . .”
She realized in that moment that she had lived her dream.
It took 28 years for Dot’s dream to come true. It took hard work, dedication, and commitment in the face of incredible adversity: time, nay-sayers, and the sacrifices that are necessary to achieve such an extraordinary goal. The point of the story, though, is not that Dot is an incredible woman (she is!). The point is that dreams can come true.
It is on this belief that PFX Athletics was built. Dreams can (and do) come true. Dot Richardson organized our organization in 1996 after she made her dream come true with the purpose and objective of helping other girls and women have the chance to make their dreams come true. Our history as a company has evolved through the years: from a training organization, to the non-profit arm of the Pro-Fastpitch X-treme Tour, to who we are today.
Pay close attention as you visit our website and social media pages. For us, the photos and stories are more than just photos and stories. Behind the pixels, as young Dottie did in 1968 and as we do today, we hope you see the dreams that we are helping make come true.
As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, PFX Athletics is overseen by a five-person Board of Directors (including the President). The Board meets every three to six months to establish the key operational objectives of the Company.
Dr. Dot Richardson, M.D.
Founder, Board Member
Dr. Richardson’s story is detailed in “Our Story,” above. After representing the United States at the 1996 Olympic Games, she went on to become a two-time Olympic gold medalist in 2000, when she retired and began her medical practice in Clermont, Florida. Dr. Richardson transitioned into the position of Director of the National Training Center in Clermont where she was instrumental in raising the funds necessary to construct Legends Way Ballfields. In 2014, Dr. Richardson was offered the head coaching position at Liberty University, which she accepted. She currently splits her time between Lynchburg, Virginia and Clermont, Florida. She oversees the Women’s Majors division and activities of PFX Athletics.
Dr. Jo Ann Jones, PhD
Dr. Jones has been a resident of South Lake County for over 30 years after she moved here from southern Illinois. She is an advocate for children’s and women’s rights and has been an educator for almost three decades. Dr. Jones has and does serve on several local boards and recently accepted the position of Director of Advancement for Real Life Christian Academy, a new private school in South Lake County, where she is focusing on developing programs and community relationships.
Nancy Clutts is a partner at the Corbin Group, a business coaching company that works with world-wide clientele, and is the former mayor of the City of Tavares. Ms. Clutts served in her capacity as mayor of Tavares as the City went through its re-branding efforts and established itself as “America’s Seaplane City.” A visionary and “coaches’ coach,” Ms. Clutts’s transformational experiences in her public and business roles have provided her with tremendous insight and the ability to bring people together while coaching them to a desired result. Ms. Clutts is also an advocate for women’s health and wellness.
Mr. DeClercq resides in Clermont, Florida with his wife and children. He is currently a pastor at Highpoint Church in Orlando, Florida. Before taking on the responsibility of religious leadership, Mr. DeClercq spent over ten years as a professional basketball player in the NBA after graduating from the University of Florida where he led the Gators to their first Final Four appearance in 1994. As a former coach of the nationally-ranked Montverde Academy, Mr. DeClercq’s insight and influence are vital to the success of our coaches and staff.