Baseball, softball ready for spring season

THE LADY JETS open their season on the road Friday in Durant, Okla. Courtesy Photo, Newman Athletics

With spring just around the corner, Newman’s baseball and softball teams have starting gearing up for their upcoming season. 

Junior Paul Rupnik said he is excited about the spring season.

“This year, I believe we have the talent to do some damage in conference,” he said. “We’ll know how good we are at the end of the year.”

Rupnik said last year’s results have inspired the team to improve their energy and raise their level of play. 

“Because of how we finished last year, we’re not happy with the success we had,” he said. “We’re just way more adept this year. Combined with the talent and the motivation, we’re definitely ready to do something this year.”

Junior Dominique Payne, a transfer from Gateway Community College in Arizona, said she likes the competitiveness of the team and is looking forward to the upcoming season. 

Payne said the transition from her junior college team to Newman has given her a fresh start.

“I really like the new transition to a more competitive atmosphere,” she said. “The girls are so nice and welcoming, and I feel like I fit right in.”

Payne said with the current leadership they have on the team, she is optimistic about the spring season. 

“I think they’re going to take us to a great place as the season progresses,” she said.

Head Coach Janice Esses said the new team members have settled in nicely. 

“I think they have been meshing well with our returners, so the chemistry seems to be a lot stronger this year.” she said.

Esses said this year, she expects a lot of clean defense. “Talent wise, I think we are stronger defensively, just from what we’ve done in practice and our in-squad scrimages,” she said.

The baseball and softball teams will both be on the road this weekend. The  Lady Jets play  first at 9:30 a.m. Friday against Central Missouri. The Jets take the field at 3 p.m. Feb. 9 against Fort Hays State.

This story first appeared in the February 1, 2018 issue of The Vantage.