Big Sky Softball Starts Seasons With High Expectations
The AA softball season is just around the corner. Both Missoula Sentinel and Missoula Big Sky made it to the state tournament last season. This year, the Eagles may have the bigger expectations, even if they are on the younger side.
The Big Sky Eagles have only two seniors on their team, but could very well start a team comprised of mostly sophomores, meaning an impressive group of underclassmen.
"That just shows how good we're going to be as we grow. If we aren't top dog this year, we will in a couple years," says Big Sky sophomore pitcher Macey Newbary
The Eagles made it to state last year, and even picked up a win in the consolation bracket, but they weren't in contention for a title after day one.
"Last year we had several freshmen who started on that team. They got their eyes open a little bit about what State is really about, and I think that's a cool thing. They came away from State saying they wanted to go back and they wouldn't be satisfied with just being there," says head coach Dennis Staves
"It definitely made us really happy knowing that we went to state and made it that far. We only won one game, but still really cool for our seniors to have that experience," says sophomore pitcher Kendall Rauk
Last year, Kendall Rauk was the main pitcher, who excelled as a freshman, but now with fellow sophomore Macey Newbary able to split time on the mound, it provides Big Sky with two talented, and different pitchers.
"If you look at me and Kendall, I'm a little shrimp and she's this big blonde girl. She definitely has the power to throw a little harder than I do, but I like to work spots and movement pitches," says Newbary.
So the pitching appears to be more than capable, but after losing several power hitters to graduation, the team will have to adapt on the offensive side of the ball.
"We lost a couple really big bats last year that graduated, so we may have to change our offense up a little bit, we may have to do a lot more manufacturing of runs than we did last year. Last year we kind of relied on a home run once in awhile, and this year I think we'll have to manufacture some runs," says Staves.
"Based on the game of softball, I would like to see everybody having great batting averages, because that is what wins games," adds Newbary.