Kristen Hunter Flores
Even with the pandemic passing it’s one year anniversary on March 16, Softball was still allowed their season sadly unlike some other sports. So here’s how the team felt finally to be back after everything from the past year:
Coach Deb Whitbey says, “I am so excited to be back! I’m more happy for the girls that they get to play.”
“I’m really excited to be with my team again and see what we accomplish this season”, said Varsity, Tierra Beard.
Junior Varsity, Taylor Hanson, stated, “I am glad we are able to have a season, I just wish we were in school.”
Now into how the preparations for this season have been going, along with handling all the precautions being taken. Beard states, “As long as the precautions keep us safe then they’re a good idea” and as for how she’s preparing “Working on my weaknesses in hitting and fielding is my top priority for this season.”
“All coaches have been trained in Covid precautions. We have our plan for daily interactions with the girls. The district and CIF have set down some strict guidelines for our season that will keep our student athletes safe during play. Communication to the girls and their families about those guidelines will be very important. I have frequent communication with Mr. Koerner about any new changes to those guidelines as some things change daily. Plus, I received my 1st vaccine and will get my 2nd in a few weeks. Preparations have started. We are working on the field each week, we’ve cleaned everything out and off. We are ready! Now it is working on our plans to keep the girls safe from Covid during practice and play.” said Whitbey.
“I am preparing by practicing pitching, and batting. And I feel good about the precautions being taken”, says Hanson.
Subsequently, this leads onto the question of how they predict this season will go? Whitbey says, “We have a tough schedule! We will play the best JV teams in the county. So there is pressure. However, we can prepare for them now, mentally and physically, and hopefully, win or lose, we will play some good softball against them.”
“I’m hoping we win league and make it to the playoffs.” said Beard.
Although the girls finally got their season, it has been awhile since they’ve got to swing their bats let alone pitch so this leads to if the team has had any challenges so far?
Hanson claims, “I haven’t really had any struggles.” and “No not really, Covid-19 hasn’t changed anything for me”.
“The main difficulty is that there will be no frosh soph team this year which means some girls will not have the chance to play this season. I lost my assistant coach, my husband, because he coaches football at another high school. So I am doing this alone this season.” and as for her coaching style, “ My coaching style will not change as far as softball goes. The goal is get a group of girls ready for the next level of softball and play to the best of their ability. But with Covid, I will have to add those extra precautions to keep us safe while we meet those goals.” stated Whitbey.
Beard says, “Uncertainty on whether we’ll have a senior year and how it would affect my college path has been the main struggle this year.”, she also added that covid-19 did change her playing style, “because of covid-19 I stopped playing softball so I’ll probably be rusty once we get back to practicing.”
In spite of these difficulites the girls were asked what they are looking forward to and their goals for this season, here are their responses:
“I’m looking forward to playing with my team again. Going out on the field and trying my hardest every time is my main goal”, said Beard.
Hanson, says, “My goals are to become a better pitcher. I am looking forward to just having a season to play.”
“I miss students! I can’t wait to see these girls every day. And, I love the game of softball. I started playing when I was 5 so I love being around the game. And lastly, I have met some pretty awesome coaches around the district so I am looking forward to seeing my coaching friends again. #1 goal is to finish the season with no Covid issues. Other than that, I want these girls to have enjoyed their season, learn a little bit of softball, and give them enough self-confidence to play again next year or even try out for the varsity team”, states Whitbey.
At last, a heads up on what it takes to play softball and advice to those who want to play next year from the team.
Whitbey says, “Dedication, hard work, accepting failure, commitment, and a positive attitude will make this an amazing season. Plus, having good hand/eye coordination helps. I have seen athletes who have never played the sport before come out and do amazing things because they have other athletic skills. Always give yourself a chance, even if you’ve never played. You have to be committed though. If you go out, go all out! You may surprise yourself.”
Beard states, “Determination and never giving up are key aspirations. Continue to work out and build your skill level.”
“I think it takes time, focus, and being a team player. My advice is to not think you’re the best player on the team, don’t talk back to the coaches, and just have fun. Something about softball is that just because you have been playing for so long there are people just starting out that could have a better attitude, and the coaches like attitudes better”, said Hanson.