Jennie Finch, a College World Series champion, two-time Olympic medalist and National Softball Hall of Fame inductee, is one of the greatest softball players of all time. But when she attends local events and meets young women in the game, she often finds herself feeling inspired by them.
“I’m the one supposed to be coming to inspire and encourage, and I always leave so inspired and in awe of just everything that they are,” Finch said on the most recent episode of The Players’ Pod with host Kelley O’Hara.
“It’s really cool just to be able to meet these young stars and see what they’ve been able to overcome and what they’re hopeful for for the future.”
Since retiring from her playing career in 2010, Finch has dedicated much of her life to building up the next generation of softball stars.
This year, the Jennie Finch Empowerment Award presented by ARM & HAMMER will return to honor four young softball athletes who best exemplify characteristics such as leadership, motivation, commitment, dedication, humility and integrity. Major League Baseball® and Church & Dwight Co., Inc, the makers of ARM & HAMMER, will announce the first recipient on Thursday, the 50th anniversary of Title IX.
Winners of the award each receive a $10,000 scholarship, courtesy of ARM & HAMMER, in recognition of the athletes’ excellence on and off the field. Honorees and their families are also awarded a trip to the World Series, where they are honored alongside Finch prior to a game.
An MLB® Youth Softball Ambassador, Finch will headline an MLB® blue-ribbon panel charged with selecting the student-athletes. Speaking with O’Hara, Finch said her goal is to make the honorees feel supported at a pivotal moment in their development as softball players and people.
“It’s been really neat to see Major League Baseball® dive into the grassroots level and care about women in sports, girls baseball, girls softball,” she said. “To be able to team up with ARM & HAMMER and shine a light on these young ladies who are so remarkable.”
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Jennie Finch-Daigle (@jfinch27)
A post shared by Jennie Finch-Daigle (@jfinch27)
The award is a part of the MLB® and ARM & HAMMER’s broader commitment to the national growth of softball and aims to recognize athletes who are exceptionally motivated and are making a positive impact on their communities. In addition to Finch, Olympic gold Medalist Natasha Watley and NCAA Women’s College World Series champion Lauren Chamberlain have been appointed MLB® Youth Softball Ambassadors. In that role, they will join forces with USA Softball to put on annual amateur developmental softball events.
“We look forward to recognizing the teamwork, strength, resilience and confidence of young softball athletes across the country, providing them the opportunity to get together at our events and to receive the Jennie Finch Empowerment Award,” said David James, MLB® Vice President of Baseball & Softball Development. “Jennie Finch and Church & Dwight have been great partners in this effort that both builds confidence and assists with college costs.”
Since 2019, ARM & HAMMER has donated $100,000 to date in association with the program to MLB® Youth Foundation and the recipients of the Jennie Finch Empowerment Award.
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