The Helias Crusader softball team started their 2016 season off with a win against Waynesville and have continued to win, improving to 7-0 and taking first in the Battle Tournament. Head Coach Dan Campbell manages the Lady Crusader softball players in his 18th year with many young varsity players.
“Every year is different,” said Campbell. “You get different kids that come in and kids graduate, but working with the girls everyday has been fun.”
With 13 freshmen on the roster and 6 of them starting, the softball team is young. With this young team, Campbell has spent extra time going over the fundamentals and strategies of Helias softball.
“We have to teach them the things we want to do and how we want to do them, and that has been a challenge,” said Campbell.
To become playoff ready, Campbell says that it’s important to focus on the little details and to keep working hard.
“We’ve got a lot of talent,” said Campbell. “We just have to make sure we are doing the little things that it takes to win games against good teams. Things such as getting bunts down and making routine plays on defense. If we do that, we’ll be fine. We just have to keep working hard.”
The first two weeks of practices included a lot of running and a lot of basics. Now that games have started, the conditioning has slowed down but working on strategy and refining skills such as hitting and base running have picked up. Campbell also instills a hard-work ethic in his players to keep them pushing on, which he hopes will be an attitude they carry into future games.
“When we get on the field, we are there to compete and win,” said outfielder and junior Lydia Young. “Even if we are down by a couple of runs, we do everything it takes to try and get the upper hand again. This team doesn’t give up until that final out is called.”
The number of freshmen on this varsity team makes it difficult for the team to form a bond for a few reasons. One being these girls have never played together before or at this level.
“It’s been a little challenging to start coming together and knowing everybody’s role on the team,” said 3rd baseman and sophomore Sohpia Carr. “But, I think the more we’re together playing and practicing, the more we’ll get the hang of things.”
The Helias Lady Crusaders are back in action against cross-town rival, the Jefferson City Jays, today, Aug. 31, at 5:30 p.m. at 63 Diamonds. The Lady Crusaders enter this game knowing the head coach’s motto and hoping to keep their prefect record for the season.
“Be on time, work hard, and have a good attitude,” stated Campbell. “If you can do those three things, the wining takes care of itself.”