The power of six is very mighty. We have four seniors from Northome and two seniors from Kelliher. This is the most seniors that have ever played on a softball team before. Kisha Heck, Tiffany Stillday, Hollea Boquist, Hope Lindner, Kristen White and myself, Megan Halverson.
When we began this softball season we had about twenty one girls. Seems like a pretty good number right? Wrong. This is for two teams and since there are nine people on the field at all times, we need at least eighteen girls to go out for softball to even have a team.
After eligibility, personal reasons and illness, at the start of our first game we had nine girls to play on the varsity team. The numbers weren't our only problem although.
I went into this season with the mind set that this is going to be an awesome year. I thought this because there was going to be six seniors that had played most of our lives and were used to a regular routine. I was in for a rude awakening.
As it turns out, I was forgetting that we graduated our starting second baseman, Kristi Geerdes, our starting pitcher, Kendra Krogseng and our starting center fielder, Brittney Heck. All of these positions are key in fielding softball.
Now Northome/Kelliher has never been strong in the pitching department when it comes to softball, but I have a great feeling that our freshman pitcher, Jackie Pierson, is going to be able to accomplish great things for the team. There are only two pitchers on the team and those are Jackie and myself. I know from experience that pitching can be the most frustrating, tiring job on the field.
Ever since I was in seventh grade I have been one of the Mustang's "Emergency Pitchers." What this means is that I can step in and finish the inning when the starting pitcher is struggling to throw strikes. This year, however, I have had to force myself to become a full time pitcher. Jackie is working hard to become a varsity ready pitcher, but it is just not as easy as it looks.
Jackie did quite well during our first game against Lake of the Woods on April 5, 2012. She had pitched four innings and was quite successful. When her arm became exhausted I had to step in. Between Jackie and myself, we probably threw a combined total of 200 pitches.
This is why I feel that pitching can be the most exhausting position on the field. Everyone else on the field only throws the ball probably a total of five or six times per game with rest time in between. We pitchers throw the ball countless times in a row. Pitching is likely to be the most tiring job during game time, but during practice we all work equally as hard.
Our practices are very routine. We start off the day with a warm up run of a mile. Then after that we do a team plyles as lead by the seniors. For those of you who do not know what plyles are, they are a cardio-stretch to help bring down the heart rate from running and loosen the muscles while they are still warm.
After doing several different plyle stretches, we follow that up with team stretching also lead by the senior classmen. These stretches begin with the arms and upper body and work down the legs and lower body. Once the team run, plyles and stretching is completed, we divide into the separate teams.
Junior High takes one field and Varsity takes the other field. The Varsity team will then start with throwing esthetics. This is when we begin to warm up our arms for throwing. We start by partnering up and warming up the wrist, then elbows, then shoulders, then abdomens and lastly our legs.
When our arms tell us they are ready to throw, Coach Hanson steps in and tells us about the drills we are going to perform that day. A few of the favorites consist of batting off of the pitching machine, playing t-ball and hitting off of live pitching.
After all of the drills are said and done, he will then sit us all down in the dugout and tell us about what he expects from us and the other teams in the games to come. He will also tell us any updates as far as practice, game times, or position changes go.
As of right now, we currently have our three outfielders set as Taylor Grams in left field, Hol-lea Boquist in center and Tiffany Stillday in right field. Our infield goes as follows Kisha Heck starting third base, Bre Salmonson at short stop, Jackie Pierson and myself (depending on who is pitching that day), Hope Lindner at first base and lastly Kristen White behind the plate catching.
Last season I played the DP, or designated player, position. This is a person who always bats the same number in the line up, but can change positions in the field at any moment of the game without referee substitution. This means that I was playing everywhere at any moment. Literally every where, I played some first, catcher, pitcher, third, short stop, second base and outfield all in one game.
Although we do not currently have a DP due to lack of girls out for softball this year, things might change. That's the glorious thing about softball, anything can change at any moment.
All it can take is one bad pitch to bring a pitcher down enough to walk people into scoring a bunch of runs, or one good pitch to get them hyped up and pitching faster and more accurately. If someone hits a home run then it can really bring the team up and start a rally of great hits to follow.
So if you get one bad hit, or bobble one ball, or throw one wild pitch, point is don't get down. Keep the head up and play through it. Odds are that you are going to get another change to shine. As for the fans, if someone makes an error, don't discourage but encourage. Sometimes balls can take bad hops and not go where it was expected to. Cheer positively and lout and the game could just take a turn for the better.