SOFTBALL: Bid for a statement season is delayed
Entering Judy Noller’s second season as Marion softball coach, she and the Warriors were looking to make a statement after last year’s runner-up finish at Class 3A’s regional.
“They know we had a great opportunity last year,” she said. “They know they have the ability to go further.”
That chance will have to wait, but the potential is still there.
“Sometimes it’s hard once something goes bad,” Noller said. “Making sure they stay positive, that’s the main thing.”
The Warriors’ first two opponents were highly anticipated matchups, Noller said.
The season opener was to be against Council Grove, who swept Marion in last year’s opener.
The girls were scheduled to play Moundridge next, which was a key game because Marion beat the Heart of America league champions in 2019, Noller said.
“When we go to Moundridge I think we’re going to have a target on us,” she said. “We’re the only team in the league that beat them last year.”
The third matchup girls were paying extra attention to was against Hutchinson Trinity Catholic, who the Warriors lost to at last year’s regionals.
“All our games need to be treated as big games, but those are the ones the girls are looking for,” Noller said.
With the rapport built last year, spring practice was mostly about fine tuning and being able to integrate any new players, Noller said.
“It’s different communication on more specific things, but I don’t know that it’s too different,” she said. “Our team gels well, both the players and coaches.”
One advantage the Warriors had was the number of years they played together starting at the youth level, Noller said.
Having that personal history means players can respond to what they each do well, she said.
“All of them know each others’ strengths, where their best positions are and how they can help the team,” she said. “They see ‘This is where our runs are going to come from,’ and ‘This is who’s going to help us on defense.’ ”
Last modified March 26, 2020