Lyle Trapper Field is soon going to see more action than it has in nearly two years.
"I would say that everybody is chomping at the bit to get on the field," Jamestown High School head softball coach Marissa Drenth said. "There is definitely a sense of urgency and a little extra motivation because we lost out on a season."
The Blue Jays began practices on March 22 and will kick off the season with a doubleheader at home against Dickinson on April 6 at 4:30 p.m. The Blue Jays missed out on the 2020 season due to COVID-19. In 2019 the team finished at 15-14 overall, missing the state tournament thanks to a 7-4 loss dealt by Minot in a West Region tournament state qualifier.
"It's a very, very tough conference," Drenth said of the WDA. "Dickinson is always tough, Minot, all the Bismarck schools -- nobody plays you easy. It's always competitive no matter where you are at."
Drenth has the players who can do all the right things on any given day.
"We've got a lot of seniors this year who missed out on their junior year," Drenth said. "We're bringing back the top of our lineup really."
The Blue Jays will be returning McKenna Jackson, Ella Roaldson and Payton Gall, all of whom had big-hitting numbers as sophomores. Junior Jenna Fischer will also be back in the mix for the Blue Jays. Unfortunately for Drenth, senior Rachel Schiele will not be back on the field.
The Jays lost Schiele to an ACL injury in February. Drenth said having Schiele out of the lineup will mean there will be some switches made but she isn't too worried about finding someone to fill the senior's shoes.
"I think all teams will be a little rusty in different ways, but I think the girls are definitely excited and ready to put in the work to get back to where we want to be at."
Drenth said she is going to take her normal approach to early training this season, not concerning herself with the fact that her team hasn't played competitive fastpitch in nearly two years.
"We're going to hit fundamentals hard," Drenth said. "I always do, it's not even about having missed a season. If you are strong fundamentally everything else kind of takes care of itself. I don't think we need to do anything fancy, I just think back to basics and get ready mentally."
The Jays will only play in one tournament besides the WDA and state tournaments this season. The Blue Jays are slated to host six games and be on the road for eight games. Nearly all of the Jays' 14 games will be five-inning, double-headers. Softball will be one of the first Blue Jay sports to face East Region teams before the state tournament.
"We're excited to play. We're thankful we have that," Drenth said. "We're going to go out and play for our seniors who didn't get to play last year and play for the teams who are missing the season and essentially just go out there and be ourselves. Be Jamestown Softball."