Ready to bounce back from a 3-23 record last year, the Holdrege Lady Dusters came into this year with a growth mindset ready to improve their skills and face their season head-on.
At the start of the season, they knew their focus had to be on the offensive side and that the defensive side would follow with that. Head coach Mark Freburg also knew he needed to incorporate fundamentals into the practice schedule in a limited time. When asked about what he did to get his players ready for the season, Freburg stated, ”Preparing players for the varsity level is challenging. For example, our junior class played little or no softball prior to high school. Four of them now start and play well. We stress proper techniques of throwing, catching, hitting, and base running. We also talk about the mental approach to games and having confidence in your teammates and your own abilities.¨ Coach Freburg was diligent about incorporating what needed improvement into practices. And this year, the seniors made an extra effort to encourage the team to stay positive through the ups and the downs.
“Going through this season hasn’t been easy, but no matter the outcome of each game my teammates stay positive knowing that we are improving,” stated senior Kloey Kirwan.
During the first week of practice, the team’s starting pitcher was injured, which paved some rough roads in the early season, but the team kept their focus on improvement and continued to work hard for the remainder of the season.
After practicing hard day after day, the team was finally living up to their potential and senior Cora Hastings stated that “Altogether, we have learned what to do in different situations and have even come together more as a team.” The softball girls were beginning to play as a team, and it showed in their regular-season game where they picked up their second win of the season against Gothenburg before coming back to gain another win against Southern Valley. This came them the confidence they needed heading into the Central 10 conference tournament.
At conference, the team picked up two more wins against Schuyler and Lexington both by run rule. In addition to the wins, they also lost to number two ranked Crete. Those wins gave them hope for a promising sub-district the following week. Unfortunately, the Lady Dusters came up just short in their games and went 0-2 to end their season. Even though the season came to a halt at sub-districts, the improvement made by the team throught the season was truly remarkable.