As the upcoming high school softball season approaches there are many practices with conditions feeling more like winter than spring.
"You know it is chilly but it's the way it is this time of year for us,” said Sentinel head coach Tim Gray at a recent practice session. “We play in it and we're going to be out in it as much as we can. It's just great to be out here. It's a long winter, especially when you live for this sport."
"I'm super excited. I've been waiting for it all year and I've been really excited and couldn't wait to meet the new team and everybody,” said senior outfielder Cady Lanzel. ”Super excited especially since it's my senior year."
"Oh it's so nice. I've been waiting for this moment all year and just entering my senior year it feels so different,” said senior third baseman Timber Plenger. “Just want to make the most out of it."
It will definitely be a new look on the diamond this year for Sentinel. The Spartans lost most of their starters from last season.
"We're going to be a young team this year. We've got a lot of new kids,” said Gray. “We're returning two starters with varsity experience. Cady and Timber have both been with us since they were freshman obviously and have contributed at the varsity level. Cady is a great centerfielder. Timber is a fantastic third baseman. Both hit the ball really well. They'll lead by example."
"There definitely is a leadership role,” explained Lanzel about entering her senior season. “We just want to be a positive influence. We don't want to intimidate them or scare them off or do anything. We want to be as accepting as we can."
"All you want to do is be a great influence for these younger kids and you want to take what you've learned in the past and pass it on to them," added Plenger.
With so many fresh faces to the varsity team this year, the Spartans' biggest focus right now is just figuring out where everybody is going to fit in the lineup and on the field.
"I think just basic fundamentals at this point and working on where our players are going to be,” said Gray. “What I'm seeing is a lot of utility players right now so we've got to work into what spots they are going to be at."
"Of course we go through the basics because some of the girls aren't as experienced and they are kind of new,” said Lanzel. “But the other thing that is really important is team bonding to get to know each other better and mold better. That's really important before the first games."
The Spartans will kick off their season at the Great Falls Jamboree on Saturday, April 5.