Lady ‘Cats sharpening skills in summer leagues
Although the spring season ended for Basehor-Linwood softball players about a month ago, that does not mean they are done playing.
The majority of the Bobcats are continuing their seasons through the summer as members of competitive softball teams, some of which will be competing against teams from across the country.
The Lady Jets, which will compete against teams in Tonganoxie, Lansing and Bonner Springs, has the largest group of Basehor players with 10. Sophomore Lindsay Beal said the team has built a camradarie since getting together several years ago.
"We've been together a long time, five years I think, so it's kind of expected we're going to play together during the summer," she said.
Playing together for so long has also built trust in addition to the friendships, Beal said.
"It really helps a lot because you know the people and you know that they'll have your back," she said. "Especially in games, it helps knowing your teammates and that you can count on them."
In addition to the seven sophomores that have played together for five years, three incoming freshmen will be joining the team. Beal said it is up to the older players on the team to acclimate the incoming players to the high school softball atmosphere.
"(The incoming freshmen) just started with the team and we're going to try and help adapt them to what we try to do on the high school team," she said.
Beal will be playing with the Jets, as well as with another team, the Lunatics, with fellow BLHS sophomore Christina Laffere. Beal said she decided to play for both the Jets and the Lunatics because she wanted to play with her friends and also play competitive ball at the same time.
For incoming freshman Jennifer Sirridge, competitive softball is nothing new. Her team, the Aces, has already qualified for the ASA National Tournament from August 2 to 8 in Midland, Texas. She said both participating in Basehor head softball coach Susan Mayberry's summer camp and playing against older girls will benefit her greatly going into high school.
"(The summer camp is) good to see what the competition is going to be like at the high school level and also getting to know some of the girls who will be on the team," she said.
"(Playing up) is more competitive than playing girls my age and it's a faster game and I think that high school softball is going to be the same way."
The differences between high school and competitive softball are few, junior Kristal Holland said. Aside from faster pitching, she said the two are very similar.
"(Summer softball) is good because you get to see different players and some other players in different positions than they normally play," she said.
Holland will be a member of the Phenix, along with senior Amanda Hughes and junior Sara Cantu. Holland said having two members of her high school team will help her adjust to her new team quickly.
"It helps having them there because I have some people I know and can talk to and with the other girls it might take a little while to get to know them," she said.
Holland, who was named to the 2004 All-Kaw Valley League second team as a pitcher, said playing competitively during the summer has helped boost her ability as a pitcher by forcing her to concentrate more.
"(Playing in the summer) helps me get ready for the high school season because I can see where I need to pitch to certain batters," she said. "When I get to the high school season I'm more prepared for the different hitters I will be facing."