ROCHESTER, Minn. - Opening day for Major League Baseball is in the books, but high school baseball and softball teams still have to wait a few more days. Since spring sports didn’t have a season in 2020, the first week of practice has been all the more exciting.
“We’re just jacked up and ready to rock and roll. It’s nice,” John Marshall softball coach Thang Nguyen said.
Finally, spring athletes are back to enjoying the sports they love.
“I’m super excited after missing our entire season last year. It’s good to be out here,” Megan Ihrke said.
Coach Nguyen says after being away from the sport for so long, it poses a unique set of challenges for teams as they get back into the swing of things.
“It will be hard,” he said. “We have half the kids that will play summer ball and into fall ball and what not to keep their skillset up. Then, we have the other half that can’t play summer ball and can’t play offseason because of other commitments.”
Despite any roadblocks, things seem to be going well for the Rockets during this first week of practice.
“This is day three for us so it’s been going really well,” Nguyen said. “They’re excited and want to play. They just want to do what they need to do to get our practices in and get our names going and get the season going.”
The Rockets hope to build off the success they experienced in 2019 but along with that comes playing it safe when it comes to COVID-19 precautions. Anny Miles says anyone that played during the offseason is used to the protocols.
“It’s been great playing dome ball,” she said. “We had to wear them (masks) all through dome ball – now with practices and I think we’ve gotten pretty used to it. We just want to play so we’ll do whatever it takes.”
Still, the Rockets are confident they will field a solid team this season and can’t wait to play Mayo next Thursday.
“Whether it’s Mayo or Century it’s the crosstown rivalry. You can’t beat it, it’s awesome,” Nguyen said.