Jays embark on first varsity seasonThe next step in the Jamestown High School softball program begins today. After playing last season as a JV program, coach Mike Soulis and his girls will play a varsity schedule this spring, and a very busy one at that. They could play upwards of 30 games over the next eight weeks, beginning today at Valley City against the Hi-Liners.
The next step in the Jamestown High School softball program begins today.
After playing last season as a JV program, coach Mike Soulis and his girls will play a varsity schedule this spring, and a very busy one at that. They could play upwards of 30 games over the next eight weeks, beginning today at Valley City against the Hi-Liners.
Wins and losses aren’t as important as they might be in other sports. Soulis is realistic about what the season will bring, but upbeat about the team and the program’s outlook.
“We thought last year was a successful step in how we’re trying to build the program,” Soulis said. “This year will bring bigger challenges, we understand that.
“But what I told the girls was, ‘I’m not so worried about what happens on April 5. I’m more worried about May 27.’ Did we make some big progress? Did we continue to improve? That to me is the bigger picture.”
The numbers in the program continue to creep up. They’re pushing 25 now and will have full varsity and JV teams.
Most games they’ll be playing teams with established softball programs already in place, so to place expectations on how many games they’ll win wouldn’t be productive.
“We have to be realistic, but at the same time we have some competitive girls and they’re out their working hard, trying to get better,” Soulis said.
They have several good athletes to build around, but developing the skills specific to fastpitch softball takes time.
“We have some very good athletes, it’s just understanding the game of softball and getting accustomed to everything,” he said. “The girls have good attitudes, good work ethic and they want to learn and are eager to get better. That right there is something we can build on.”
Several of the players that made significant contributions to last year’s JV team return.
On the mound, seniors Kayla Thoele and Nikki Alfstad plus freshman Kadie Anderson are all vying for time.
“We just want our pitchers to throw strikes, make them swing the bat and make them earn any runs they get,” Soulis said. “Ideally we’ll limit our mistakes, mental and physical, and be as fundamentally sound as we can.”
Savannah Windish, Kari Overby, Kyra Dewald and Paige Peterson amongst others are looking to build off last season.
“We’ve told the girls this is an ongoing process. People could be moved around from JV to varsity and vice versa depending on how they progress,” Soulis said. “We really are a work in progress, but just in what we’ve seen so far, there is reason for optimism for this season and down the road.”
Jamestown High School Softball
Coach: Mike Soulis
Roster: Kadie Anderson, Fr.; Ashley Meier, Soph.; Kyra Dewald, Jr.; Paige Peterson, Soph.; Stacey Fritz, Sr.; Sage Nichols, Sr.; Morgan Geigle, Sr.; Kayla Thoele, Sr.; Savannah Windish, Sr.; Billie Buchanan, Jr.; Alicia Beckman, Soph.; Nikki Alfstad, Sr.
Season-opener: Today at Valley City
Home-opener: Tuesday, April 10 vs. Turtle Mountain, 4:30 p.m., McElroy Park
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com