ROCHESTER, Minn. - High school baseball and softball is officially back in action. The Lourdes softball team began practices earlier this week with hopes of defending their 2019 state championship. The team knows it has a lot of work to do before Monday’s season opener but is ready to take on the challenge.
“When COVID started, you didn’t really think anything would get back to normal but it's good that we’re back out here. Maybe with some circumstances, but we’re back out,” Payton Trahan said.
The Eagles are on a mission this season.
“They want to defend,” said Head Coach Becky Macken. “They didn’t get a chance last year. I think everybody is in the same spot we’re in. These kids lost a whole year, they had partial summers so they’re hungry and they’re really enjoying themselves. You can tell they’re having a good time.”
Senior captain, Karin Hayford, says a key component to competing at the level of a state champion is having great chemistry.
“I just really want everyone to have fun. I want everyone out here to really enjoy playing the sport, get better and prepare future years of playing. Whether or not this year is going to be a state tournament year, we want everybody to build the program up,” Hayford said.
This season will come with a variety of challenges. Two classes of seniors have now graduated, not to mention the time lost to develop younger players.
“You don’t recover. You’ve got to reload. You’ve just got to take what you’ve got and you feel bad for the kids that missed out. Everybody is in the same boat – you wish you could’ve gotten those kids last year experience, especially these kids (current players) another year of experience under their belt.,” Macken said.
That’s why many of the Eagles have been dedicating the extra time to improve their skills.
“Some of us have been working in the offseason and it’s just really the drive to want to win that will pull us through and getting to know the girls. That will really help us with teamwork because that’s a big part of the game is teamwork and just wanting it more than the other team,” Hayford said.
Lourdes opens the 2021 season on Apr. 12 at Kenyon-Wanamingo.