Collaboration, focus, cooperation, coordination and dedication. These are just some of the influential skills used in our everyday lives that can be taught to younger individuals through sports. In fact, a vast majority of schools offer sports teams, as they have proved to be an effective way to teach critical traits like these to students. Softball is just one of many examples. Regardless of its availability at schools, softball is commonly underrated as many people are unaware of the differences between it and baseball. However, due to the MLB’s success and popularity, softball is often thought to pale in comparison. Fortunately, despite its status among an abundance of sports fans, it is one of the select sports offered to students enrolled at Herman/Adventure STEM.
In fact, the 2019-2020 Herman girl’s softball season has been one of the school’s strongest yet, with only one loss throughout the entirety of the season. The team placed third overall, and until their last game went undefeated. If they had advanced to the championship it would be the first time in almost four years; The 2015-2016 team was the last team to place in the finals.
Students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade were all encouraged to attend tryouts on August 20-21, 2019 for the Herman softball team. Accepted players would go on to compete in games against other schools to see where they rank among other teams. In the playoffs, you play until you lose, the loss concludes the season and the team is eliminated. This years team placed first in pool play and advanced to the playoffs. Unfortunately, after winning their first playoff game Herman was eliminated in a close game against Valley Christian.
The team was led to victory by the outstanding coaching staff. The head coach, Lakisha White, is the Herman school counselor. She has been coaching the Herman team for the past seven years and plans to continue for the 2020-2021 season. In fact, Ms. White has experience not only as a coach, but as a player too. She started playing the sport in elementary school, and continued on to play throughout high school. Combined with her experiences on a travel ball team, she has been participating in this sport for over fifteen years. Before coaching softball, Ms. White coached Herman’s basketball and volleyball. If necessary, she said she would consider coaching those again. Every season has its ups and downs, the 2019-2020 season was no exception. Although she did enjoy coming in first in their division, Ms. White was most impressed by the girls skill level and improvement, saying they, “played more as a team each game.”
The school board decided to adjust the rules to accommodate for players with less experience, this makes the game easier for them to learn in a shorter amount of time. There are some minor changes like no bunting, stealing bases, or having four outfielders instead of the usual three. However, there are also changes that had larger impacts on the game. These consisted of a no lead-offs after pitches and a different pitching style. With this new underhand pitching style, the pitcher is not allowed to raise their wrist above their shoulder when throwing the ball. Rule modifications like these are also the reasoning behind why the school doesn’t have a baseball team; the rules can’t be adjusted as easily.
However, changes like these have been controversial among experienced players. Some believe that there are too many restrictive and the school’s version varies too much from the original sport, while others think the adjustments have taken from the entertainment factor. Izabelle Bardelmeier, the 2019 seasons main catcher and seventh grade Adventure student, feels that, “they should keep the normal rules because it’s much easier and more entertaining to watch.” But overall, the majority of people who don’t support the rule changes do understand why these newer guidelines are in place and how they benefit incoming players.