Lady sluggers ‘putting in the work’
With basketball season over, Wapakoneta High School athletes shift toward the spring sport season. While the weather is not complying with the sports schedule, the teams are getting a jump start on the season.
Hidden in the gyms after school every day is the girls softball team. A consistent thump of a softball hitting a glove and the ping of a line drive in the batting cages reverberates through the halls of Wapakoneta High School.
Wapakoenta softball varsity coach Bill Sammons said his team has been practicing for more than a week now, and they haven’t been able to get outdoors yet.
“We want to make sure we get good habits before we actually step on the field,” Sammons said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to get on the field sometime soon.”
The kind of work they do indoors is fundamental hitting drills. In the upstairs gym, the varsity girls rotated though tee drills, soft toss, the live cage and the shortened cage. In a very small space, they were able to get six hitting stations going at one time.
“We have the kids get about 250 cuts at a live ball every day,” Sammons said. “Those arms really feel it. Every girl has batting gloves on because they can have so many blisters after 250 cuts at a live ball.”
Batting is half the game, fielding is the other half, and Sammons said they switch with the JV team and get their fielding and throwing practice in, in the bottom gym.
“We like to go three hours, splitting it up between hitting and fielding,” Sammons said. “JV will be down stairs fielding, while varsity is upstairs hitting, and vice versa.
“We do all our fielding work downstairs,” he said. “Everything’s always high energy, high emotion, high pressure. I love to put pressure on them all the time.”
Sammon said when they go to the main court they “do tons of fielding, they get at least 100 ground balls everyday, and of course, we throw a ton.”
Sammons said some of the girls put more time in than the three hours.
He said pitchers and catchers practice an extra 30 minutes each day at practice.
“Pitchers and catchers have to do double time,” Sammons said. “Not only do they have to do this batting practice, but they have to come in a half hour before or after to do their pitching. Some of these girls are putting in three and a half hours a day.”
And that’s not all.
“Oh, and sometimes we come in, in the morning,” he said.
Now that the winter sports season is over, senior Amy Hume joined the girls. Hume missed a couple days of practice due to the overlap between the basketball season and the softball season.
“Amy is the only one from the basketball team, plus we have two girls that split time with band,” Sammons said. “A little frustrated, but it’s not their fault, that I haven’t had everybody at one full practice yet — and that’s just that time of year. I’m as understanding as possible to that, but eventually, I’m going to have them all.”
Hume said she was excited to start practicing, and really optimistic about the season.
“We’re feeling pretty good, we have a lot of seniors on the team and good leaders,” Hume said. “Coach is working us through drills and getting us ready for games and working us really hard.”
“We love being outdoors, indoors you can’t get that feel of the field, but we’re doing what we gotta do,” Hume said. “We’re putting in the work now.”
Sammons said he is proud of the attitude of the team while they are stuck inside.
“The girls are working extremely hard, I’m proud of them,” Sammons said, “Because this is boring, this is monotonous. But this is what wins games.”