Taking a swing into spring sports

Lilly Guenther, Copy Editor

It is once again the time for spring sports teams to begin their seasons at Bellefonte Area High School. This includes softball, for which official practices began on March 12 after tryouts were held from March 8-11. However, open gym practices were ongoing until that point since mid-January. 

There are 27 players on the team’s roster this year, with 13 varsity and 14 junior varsity (JV) players. This includes 7 seniors, and 10 incoming freshmen players. 

Sophomore Madison Melius will be playing for the varsity team this season. She anticipates a strong season, and an even stronger team. 

“I believe that this year will be very strong for both JV and varsity. The JV is very young but [has] extremely strong players that come from different travel teams…Varsity is [also] projected to have a very strong season. We are fortunate to have an older and very strong team. We were lucky to have only lost two players (who graduated) last year. I believe we will have a very good season,” she said. 

As for her individual hopes and goals, Madison is “looking forward to just being able to play softball with great people.”

Madison is especially looking forward to playing on a team with some of the older girls who she has looked up to since her elementary years. 

 “The older girls have been my role models since I was in fourth grade. It will be hard to see them go, but I am very happy to have gotten this chance to play with them one last season. I am looking forward also to growing as an athlete and a person,” Madison said. 

Senior Maddie Tice is also playing for the varsity team and has similar expectations for this season. 

I would say we are very well rounded. We have a lot of great players who bring a lot of great qualities to the team. Obviously our goal for the season is to win…but we also want to grow as a team and as people. We want to be the best teammates we can and improve everyday,” Maddie said. 

The varsity team won their first scrimmage on Wednesday, March 17, a home event at the middle school field against Altoona Area High School, with a score of 30-2. Their first official game will be on March 26. It will be an away game held at and against Dubois Area Senior High School. 

The team is currently scheduled to compete in 20 games, as well as a tournament, in their regular season. Following the regular season, teams that qualify will compete at the District Tournament for the chance to continue to a state level at the State Tournament. 

Travis Foster is the head coach for the varsity team. He shared his thoughts on the strengths of and prospects for the team in the upcoming season. 

“I believe we have a chance to compete at a very high level in 2021. Even after not having a 2020 season, we bring back a lot of experience,” Foster said. 

Foster emphasizes his belief that the strength of a team is not determined by the talent of the players, but the work they put in to continue to improve throughout the season.  

“I believe one of our greatest strengths is going to be how we prepare at practice, every day. The first few weeks we have shown to be very focused on our goals, and disciplined in what needs to be done to get there. Yes, we have very good players, but the way we go about our day-to-day is going to determine how successful we will be,” Foster said. 

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about, and will continue to present, many challenges and changes in the past year, both the coaches and players have a positive outlook regarding the 2021 season. 

Maddie looks forward to her last softball season in her high school career, and overcomes the disappointment following the loss of the previous season. 

“Sports are a big part of my life and not being able to play was really hard, not being able to be with my teammates was really hard…We definitely were upset with what happened with our season last year so we aren’t going to take any practice or game this year for granted,” Maddie said. 

In regards to his hopes for the season, Coach Foster said, “More than anything, I’m looking forward to just being around my girls and coaches. Obviously, the pandemic forces us to operate in ways that are different from the normal…But I also feel the pandemic has given us a sense of thankfulness, at least it has for me. I’m thankful for the next day to practice or play…To give our best, to be elite in our roles, daily, because who knows if tomorrow we will get the chance to do it again.”