Springtime is in full swing out at Jack Brown Stadium and Lyle Trapper Lawrence Field.
The Jamestown High School baseball and softball practices got underway last week. Both teams will host their season opener with softball starting up on April 6 against Dickinson and baseball on April 8 against Bismarck High.
Over at Jack Brown, the Jays are getting used to recently hired head coach Jack Bowman's coaching style on top of building skills they missed out on perfecting due to the cancellation of the 2020 baseball season.
Bowman was hired in January after long-time Blue Jay coach Kelley Kessler turned in his resignation last spring.
"It's been slow but that's to be expected," Bowman said. "They are getting used to me and I am getting used to them. I will ask them to do things that they probably haven't done in the past so they are trying to figure out what that means on top of taking ground balls that they haven't taken in a year.
"I told them that it isn't frustrating to me when the execution is not there because we are just starting. I get it. I have been doing this long enough to know that it is a process. I like the fact that they are engaged in the effort, to learn and to get better."
The mild winter has made things easier for the Jays right off the bat. The team has held a couple of practices out on the field that is normally covered with snow until mid-way through April. Bowman said the team has touched on a majority of the skills but has not quite gotten to distinguishing where the Jays' strengths will lie as a team.
"We are definitely young but we have got some talent," Bowman said. "We've got kids who want to play and want to get better. They are working really hard and so I think if things go as expected that we'll keep progressing. I don't see anybody who is not involved. I think their determination is probably part of our strength.
"I didn't know what to expect from the team so nothing has surprised me. The biggest thing for me is that I have never had such a short window of when we could start practicing to when we started games."
Bowman said he began writing up practice plans two months ago after he officially accepted the position with the Jays. The more time he is spending with his young crop of players, the more Bowman is adjusting the amount of time spent on a skill in order to be ready for the Demons on April 8.
"Where we might have spent 30 minutes on a task we are now doing it in 15 minutes because I have to get something else introduced," Bowman said. "Some of them are picking up on stuff really well."
It's the same story across McElroy Park at Trapper Field.
"It's been really good," head JHS softball coach Marissa Drenth said. "I have just been really impressed with the positivity, energy and the leadership I have been getting out of my seniors which has been great. We have a lot of them so it's been a big help to me coaching and just helping out some of the younger girls."
While the Jays have gone back to basics, breaking down fundamentals and reviewing certain skills to refresh the team's muscle memory, Drenth said her team is trending in the right direction. The favorable weather patterns have aided the Jays in preparing the team for the season ahead.
"This is the first season that I can remember that since practice 1 we've been out on our field," Drenth said. "That's been great. You don't get a true hop from a ground ball in the gym and you don't get to hit fly balls in the gym either. We can kind of jump into more of that stuff right away and get them real looks off the bat.
"I think that's what's helped energy-wise as well. Everybody's excited that it's nice outside, that we can be outside and that the season schedule right now is looking good because the weather has held up."
Good weather and good groups of kids have set the Jays up for another successful season out at McElroy Park.
"It's more than just baseball. It's about teaching kids to stand up in their failures, how to handle success and you can do that in athletics," Bowman said. "This is a great learning area -- I love it."