Season 1 in the books: Jays’ Soulis wins West coach awardThe Jamestown High School fastpitch softball program looks to be on the right track. Though the Blue Jays lost out in a state-qualifying game at the West Region tournament May 26 in Dickinson, coaches rewarded the first-year program with a couple of awards.
By: By Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown High School fastpitch softball program looks to be on the right track.
Though the Blue Jays lost out in a state-qualifying game at the West Region tournament May 26 in Dickinson, coaches rewarded the first-year program with a couple of awards.
Mike Soulis was named region coach of the year for keeping the Blue Jays competitive at times, something that plagues many first-year programs. Junior Kyra Dewald was named to the all-conference team.
Soulis said the program needed to find balance between wanting to win and staying grounded.
“Losing is not what we want, but we also have to be realistic of where our program’s at,” he said. “We look back at our year and there were a couple of innings that kind of got away from us. That was a big factor in a lot of games.”
The award pertains more to the team’s coaching staff, Soulis said, and that the program is headed in the right direction.
“It just reflects that we as a coaching staff are doing the right things,” Soulis said. “It reassured us. Other coaches have been through this, and we’ve been recognized. We’re catching their eyes.
“We’re doing something right. That makes us feel pretty good about that.”
Dewald started at shortstop before being moved to catcher. She also logged time in the outfield.
“That’s the versatility of Kyra,” Soulis said. “We moved her to a lot of different spots. Other coaches recognized her play and rewarded her.”
The Blue Jays graduated Stacey Fritz, Savannah Windish, Morgan Geigle, Kayla Thoele and Nicole Fuerstenberg, but return a strong nucleus of players for next year. Kadie Anderson, Ashlie Meier and Dewald will be Jamestown’s top three hitters in the order, respectively. Also, the Jays hope to get cleanup hitter Paige Peterson back after she broke her collarbone in the season opener.
“Our top three batters are in place for next year,” Soulis said. “Hopefully, we’ll plug (Paige) into that four-spot.”
Kari Overby will return at third base, and along with Dewald, join with Billie Buchanan to form the team’s senior trio. Anderson, Sam Johnson and Torri Kamlitz all contributed as freshmen.
“We’ve got kids that we believe can be very successful,” Soulis said.
Part of attaining that success starts with the fastpitch program in the summer, Soulis said.
“We’ve got girls playing 10-u, 12-u, 14-u,” Soulis said. “The 12-u and 14-u teams are going over to West Fargo and playing in that league this summer.
“Kids are getting excited. The girls are enjoying themselves. More girls are getting a feel for what fastpitch is all about.”
Jamestown: Kyra Dewald; Minot Ryan: Hannah Kramer, Hannah Stewart, Sam Smith, Maddie Lipp; Bismarck Century: Kaylyn Arnold, Sarah Lardy, Bri Flynn, Dominique Giesen, Mikaila Wax; Dickinson: Haley Butterfield, Kelsey LaFond, Brianna Farnsworth; Bismarck High: Kalli Tveito; Minot High: Kendra Sjol; Turtle Mountain: Maycie Morin.
Senior Athlete of the Year: Lardy, Century.
Coach of the Year: Mike Soulis, Jamestown.
Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at email@example.com