The Battle Ground High School slowpitch softball team geared up for the district tournament last week with their new coach, Nicole Loran, at the helm.
The team lost its two games against Union High School on Friday, Oct. 21, with scores of 12-8 and 10-3, according to Battle Ground High School’s website.
Loran helped the team maintain a steady record throughout the season. Following the games on Friday, the team had an overall record of 11-8-1 and a conference record of 9-5.
“It’s going really great,” Loran said prior to the Oct. 21 games. “The girls have had a winning record and have shown steady improvement and have worked really hard this entire season.”
She said the players have improved in the transition between hitting slowpitch to fastpitch, propelling them forward to become competent players.
“So just in that transition between the two can be tough, but in doing that, they’ve improved in how much power they’re putting on the ball, the placement of their hips, and they’ve improved too in their teamwork, camaraderie, and their ability to work together as a team,” she said.
Loran replaced the team’s previous coach, Rachel Gray. Under Gray, the team moved onto the state tournament.
Last week, the county experienced a hail of smoke from nearby wildfires, which spread throughout the region. The circumstances added challenges for the team, but they persevered.
“This week has actually been really hard,” Loran said last week. “The tournament was supposed to be on Wednesday after school at Heritage High School, but it got postponed because of the smoke we’ve been having and so all of our practices have been canceled because they’re outside and the smoke has made that not possible.”
The team was able to practice inside the gym last Thursday. The girls were able to hone their batting and fielding skills as they focused on the fundamentals in preparation for districts, Loran said.
“They also had a team bonding earlier this week where they all got together and had a big family-style dinner, because I think mostly with team stuff, especially with this group of girls, their fundamentals are sound, they’re very good with their skills,” she said. “A lot of their success comes from their ability to bond as a team.”
Loran noted the team features a lot of leaders, like seniors Annali Lindersmith, Trinity Muir and Blair Loran. Junior MaKenzy Newton is another leader, she said.
“They really lead the team not only in work ethic, but in motivation and in showing the girls really what it looks like to act as a leader at school and on the field,” Loran said.
She said there are many sophomores who are “just phenomenal.” They work hard every day at practice and play fastpitch after practice and on the weekends, Loran said.
“They’re just really powerful, strong athletes,” she said.
Loran said the players are supportive of each other and like to tell jokes, but also hold each other accountable. They also have high expectations of each other and for themselves, and “a lot of them are just driven, ambitious young women, and really, very hard workers,” Loran said.
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