Hitting off sanctioned softball

The LHS softball team after they won the 2021 State Softball tournament.

Photo Used with Permission by SDHSAA

The LHS softball team after they won the 2021 State Softball tournament.

Adeline Theophilus, Staff Writer

LHS Softball is finally taking action. After an 18 month offseason, the team has begun practicing and bonding in order to get ready for another successful, newly sanctioned season. 

As the first year sanctioned, the fall sport was switched to spring, which is a change for the girls in many ways. The biggest challenge for  the girls will not be coming off of a club season. They will be coming right from the offseason so they will have to jump right back in the swing of things. 

Softball has been a huge part of LHS since the year 2007 when the team won their first State Championship. With their upcoming season that starts in the spring, LHS softball has already started getting ahead of schedule. Here is a look into what to expect from your 2023 LHS softball team. 

Last year the team ended on a high note, winning the State Championship. Madison Evans, LHS junior and starting pitcher for the LHS softball team hopes to continue her passion for the sport into this season. Evans did her part on the team by remaining calm under pressure to do her job and focus on the next pitch she throws.

“It felt so good to feel all of the hard work pay off, and celebrating with my teammates was so fun,” said Evans. 

A main goal for the team this year is to win the state tournament. Since this is the first year softball is sanctioned, winning a State Championship is crucial to the team’s future success. The team this year lost four crucial seniors. The girls must try their hardest to fill those shoes. 

Through all of the brutally cold and hot days the girls are going to be playing in, it is important that they stay motivated and driven. Evans’ favorite piece of advice from a coach is “swing hard in case you hit it.” 

The head coach of LHS softball is Trent Dlugosh, who is excited to start off the season. Dlugosh has been coaching for the Patriots for 13 years. So far, his favorite part about coaching is building relationships with the players and getting to know them as people. A typical practice for the Pats looks like either a whole day of defense or a whole day of offense. This allows the girls to get a lot of reps and stay focused on one side of the ball at a time. Although they are not always easy, they are very productive and efficient for the team. 

 “When we struggle, it’s because we are pressing or trying too hard. So, I will always try to just get them to relax and remember that this game is supposed to be fun. When we have fun we play much better,” said Coach Dlugosh.

Dlugosh’s main goal for this season is for the girls to play to the best of their capability and most of all have fun. 

“I don’t like setting a number of wins or anything like that. I think it puts too much pressure on teams and makes winning the only important thing. Only one team gets to win their last game of the season. There are so many other ways to measure success,” said Dlugosh. 

This takes grit and determination from not only him, but the whole team. As spring approaches, so does the season of hard work. Needless to say, every player and coach is determined to get a repeat ending of last year, but all in all, the most important thing is to make memories with teammates.