BSHS softball hopes to grow, win with Wardlow
There is pep in the step of coach Kara Wardlow as she watches her team prepare for the upcoming softball season.
She is the fifth coach in as many years for the Bravettes, but she took over midway through last season. The players are comfortable with her, and Wardlow is optimistic about her team.
“It’s a good squad; I’m pretty excited,” Wardlow said. “It is going great and has been a smooth transition for me becoming head coach. I worked with the seniors when I coached them on junior varsity. They know how I think, they know my processes and they know we are going to work hard and play ball. I think that might make them a little more comfortable.”
The Bravettes struggled to a 2-19 record in 2009, but Wardlow said after the season that it was not about wins and losses, rather it was an opportunity to build from the bottom and add some stability to the fledgling program.
At the end of last year she said: “We need to finish better. Execution is key. When you are at the bottom there is nowhere to go but up. We have a very bright future and I am glad that I am a part of it.”
Fastforward to only the fourth practice of the season. Wardlow glows with excitement about the prospects of the 2010 Bravettes.
“We have lots of strengths on this team,” she said. “I’m kind of lucky this year because of the talented girls on the team. We are going to be good defensively, and we are going to do well offensively, it’s just getting it done that will be (the challenge).”
Six seniors will provide the team with leadership.
“We have worked mentally on minimizing the errors, but as a coach you can’t be the girls,” she said. “We can work on them play after play, but ultimately it is their responsibility to execute.”
The Bravettes’ goals this season have been stated out loud and confidently, and that itself is something of a major change. They want to play competitive softball, win the Kaw Valley League and play well in substate.
“I think it is important to state it, and I think those goals are obtainable,” Wardlow said. “But we just need to do it.”
Breanna Tendick, who made all-league honorable mention last year as the Bravettes’ freshman shortstop, will be a key to this team’s success. Wardlow will play her in center field.
“We have a lot of dedicated players. Every position is filled with someone who wants it,” Tendick said. “There have been a lot of problems (in the past) and there was a (lack of focus). I think we have worked really hard on situational softball and are better prepared this season.”
Kelly Chastain, a senior pitcher, is the squad’s most energetic leader. She will split time on the mound with Geena Harris, and will be the on-field coach of the team. She takes a cerebral approach to pitching and is accurate enough to get the ball to go where she wants it to.
“I communicate well with everybody,” Chastain said. “I need to show my leadership through being positive. I need to calm everybody down when things go wrong and move on to the next play.”
Another senior, Carli Turner, took last season off from playing softball at BSHS and played competitively on a club team. She will be looked at for contributions offensively and defensively.
“I would say we have the best group of girls this year,” Turner said. “We all take (softball) seriously and we want the school and everybody else to take us seriously and I think we will make that happen this year. I think we will be a lot better and we will work hard.”