Although, Newman’s baseball and softball teams begin their seasons in the Heartland Conference in spring, Jets are practicing and preparing for it already.
Senior softball player Erin Jankiewicz said the team this year is young. There are only three seniors, Delaney Hiegert and Taylor Mannis and Jankiewicz.
“On Saturday, we had our first scrimmage. It was nice to see how everyone works together during the game,” she said.
Janice Esses, entering her third year as the head coach of the Newman softball team, has recruited six new players. Jankiewicz said the new girls brought different techniques and styles and added speed and competitiveness to the team.
“They are also young and have so much time to improve and get better,” she said.
Jankiewicz said the girls are close with each other and are like a family, supporting and helping each other.
“In spite of the fact that the team has so many new people, the chemistry and the bond will continue to get stronger and stronger,” Jankiewicz said.
She said the team is getting better and has high expectations for the upcoming season, which starts second semester.
“I think that we can do a lot this year, just with the new bond, new girls, new attitude, new everything,” she said.
Junior Bayley Horsch said she was impressed with the first scrimmage, everyone’s flexibility on the field and the teamwork in general.
“We had a lot of chemistry last year,” she said. “With new players, we are trying to build that bond by doing extra team activities outside of practice and hanging out together. We all get along very well on a team.”
Zane Ehling, entering his ninth year as the head coach of the Newman baseball program, said the team is young and there are more than 15 new players. He said it is pretty difficult to coach when there are so many new people to get on the same page.
“We are in good position, but we have a long way to go as far as becoming a team and understanding what being a team really means,” he said. “I think it is really good right now.”
Ehling said the team has high expectations as usual, but baseball is unpredictable so they have to prepared for everything.
“The best thing we can do is just to prepare every day and try to be the best that we can be and try to win every game that we play, no matter who we play,” he said. “I think we have the talent and the personal to be able to beat every team we play the season.”
Freshman Joey Schneider said at the beginning it was not easy because everything was new: people, team, coaches, professors etc. Being at Newman more than a month, he has made new friends, become more organized and got used to the more rigorous schedule of a college athlete.
“We want to win so every day we all do our best to achieve our goal this season,” he said.
Transfer Junior Matt Reeves, who is from Australia, said he was delighted to become a part of Newman’s baseball program.
“ I like my teammates very much. They are a cool bunch of guys who will play hard and work hard,” he said. “Can’t really ask for much more.”
Reeves said the team has been playing well together, but everyone is still getting used to each other.
“ I think my expectation is the same as everyone else’s. I expect and want to win,” he said. “ I think we can … regionals and conference tournament is our goal.”
This story first appeared in the October 5, 2017 issue of The Vantage.