In just five short years, the South Georgia Fury softball organization grew from humble beginnings to a powerhouse travel team organization on the rise.
The Fury has steadily grown over the years, with six teams and 70 girls actively playing over the summer.
South Georgia Fury director Bobby Costlow said he’s excited about the local crop of softball players joining the ranks of the Fury, but admitted it wasn’t easy in the beginning.
“It started off ugly. We had just one team in the beginning,” Costlow said. “We tried heavily to recruit locally and we just built it up. We’ve had a lot of success. We went from being a doormat to being a tough team to play against.”
Costlow said the Fury teams are made primarily of Statesboro, Portal and Southeast Bulloch players.
In the past two years, South Georgia Fury teams have won a combined 25 tournaments — an extraordinary feat considering the Fury’s zero tournament wins five years ago. This season the Fury have played in 44 tournaments and won 12. In March, the Fury’s 18U team came away with a first-place prize in the prestigious King of the Mountain tournament.
The 18U Fury squad went undefeated (7-0) throughout a tournament which featured 31 teams.
Costlow attributes the organization’s seemingly overnight success to hard work and an organizational standard set for the players.
“We practice what we preach. We work hard, we don’t use profanity and we make them manage their time. It’s not all about softball,” said Costlow, who has been the Fury’s director for the last five years. “We want them to make good grades and try other activities. We want them to enjoy their time in middle school and high school.”
Unlike other organized youth league teams that encourage players to have a year-round commitment to one sport, Costlow said he believes in giving players a break from the game and encourages members to try different activities and sports.
“We try to cut things off sometime in June. You have to have a break. Everybody needs a little rest. We do it for the safety of our players because we see a lot of kids that play often getting ‘burned out.’ Some kids practice year round and that’s just too much on a kid. I tell our kids, ‘you’re only involved in middle and high school once—enjoy it,’” Costlow said.
The future looks bright for the Fury as the teams’ summer league schedule comes to a close.
The organization plans to work with players and families to showcase the Fury’s talent in order to get more players to sign letters of intent to play softball at the collegiate level. So far, two Fury players have signed this year with many others garnering attention, Costlow said.
“There’s no way we could be so successful without the hard work of all our parents and coaches. They donate literally hundreds of hours each year without pay,” Costlow said.
Horace Holloman may be reached at (912) 489-9408.