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Former county standouts grooming talent at Smash House facility

Posted: December 3, 2014 - 12:01am
Former Greenbrier softball stars Ashlyn Masters (left) and Kaila Hunt are now partners in Smash House, a softball training center in Thomson.   Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Former Greenbrier softball stars Ashlyn Masters (left) and Kaila Hunt are now partners in Smash House, a softball training center in Thomson.

Standouts at the high school and collegiate level, former Greenbrier High School teammates Ashlyn Masters and Kaila Hunt want to help develop the next generation of softball players.

And since November they have begun to do just that at the Smash House Training Facility in Thomson.

While the former softball standouts have been part-timers in Thomson while they finish their undergraduate degrees in December – Hunt getting hers from the University of Alabama and Masters hers from the University of South Carolina – Masters’ father, Charles, and pitching coach Kirsten Duncan have been handling the day-to-day operations.

Masters, started 56 games and spent time at second base and right field for the Lady Gamecocks in 2014 and was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Southeast Region second team at the DP/utility spot. In two years at Columbia, Masters set the school record for doubles per game with a 0.23 average.

Her goal with the softball camp is straightforward.

“We want to be one of the top training facilities in the South,” she said.

While Hunt was at Alabama, the Crimson Tide made it to the College World Series three out of her four years, advancing to the final round twice; winning it all in 2012. She finished with 58 career home runs, tying for second on the school’s all-time list. She noted the facility begins with the building blocks of softball.

“We’re starting with the basics and the core that they’re missing,” said Hunt. “You don’t find teaching around here for softball. It’s why a lot of kids end up gravitating toward Atlanta when they start getting older.”

Charles Masters said keeping talent in the area was one of the things they’re striving for.

“The goal is to keep kids here and build programs where they don’t have to send them to Atlanta,” he said.

Memberships at Smash House cost $35 monthly. For that price they get strength and conditioning twice a week and a key that allows them 24-hour access to the 57-square-foot facility that has two pitching lanes, two hitting tunnels, three tee stations and a small weight area. Members can also get one-on-one lessons for $35 an hour.

Walk in the facility and pictures of Hunt and Ashlyn Masters in their SEC days, along with Lauren Masters, a redshirt sophomore at South Carolina, adorn the walls. It says a lot about the quality of instruction being offered.

“It’s an exciting time for Ashlyn and Kaila,” Charles Masters said.

“I can’t think of any facility anywhere in the Southeast that has their type of talent under one roof teaching.”

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