As the Trojans’ softball and baseball teams begin their spring seasons, both teams are excited for a chance to finally play again. Safety precautions taken for the COVID-19 pandemic last March cancelled both teams’ seasons, leaving them even more hungry for this spring.
Last year was supposed to be Head Baseball Coach Derrion Hardie’s first season with the Trojans. The heartache of missing out on last season made Coach Hardie even more grateful for his role in the lives of his athletes. He says, “The COVID-19 pandemic reminded me that I need [my players] in my life. I don’t take what I do for granted anymore. This team makes me a better person and coach. I only hope I make as much of an impact in their lives as they make in mine.” This young team is looking to continue building a winning culture this year. 72% of their players are underclassmen, which Coach Hardie knows will be important for the development of their squad. He claims, “This youth movement will prove to be highly valuable as we recruit, develop, and build.” While these young players do bring some inexperience, they will be a crucial part in creating the culture Coach Hardie is searching for.
Coach Fricke of the Trojans’ softball team is just as excited for her team’s chance to play. She says that her team is special because “they care about each other and want to see each other succeed. They have bought into having each other’s backs and pushing each other to be not only the best on the field but really challenge each other in being better people.” Not only are they great teammates, but the softball team is made up of very talented players. Coach Fricke wholeheartedly believes in the squad they have put together this year, and claims, “Once we see ourselves as a great team, we can compete with anyone.”
The Trojans are finally getting to compete again, but this spring will still bring some challenges to both teams. The pandemic is still causing issues and making health a major concern for coaches and athletes. Coach Hardie explains, “Staying healthy and away from mass quarantine and isolation along with battling the upper Midwest weather will be obstacles that we’re mentally prepared for.” Through all the complications that may arise this season, both teams are ready to face these challenges head on and make the best of their opportunities to play.