Softball Gets New Coaches

For the upcoming softball season, the school team will go from having one coach to five coaches, with at least three coaches specially set for varsity.
Terry McHugh, Mike Patterson and Pat Bitler join the school sports staff for the upcoming season, with an additional conditioning-only coach. The four new coaches will join returning JV coach Rachel Moala.
“Having known [the new coaches] for at least 10 years, I know that they really understand what they are doing,” senior Lauren Taylor said. “These guys are really experienced and have a lot of knowledge about the game of softball.”
Senior Haley Axelrod, returning for her fourth year playing softball at the school, said the new coaches’ approach to the game “is going to be very different.”
McHugh, Patterson and Bitler are bringing a different method to practices. This year, they will be organizing practices scheduled with drills, exercises and conditioning. They hope to prepare the team as well as they can.
“With at least three coaches for varsity, we will be able to divide up into separate groups and specialize,” Lauren said. “So by targeting the different skill sets, we will be able to improve in different areas.”
Practices began on Monday, January 26.
The season will be starting out slowly, then shifting to a higher intensity level as the girls develop new skills.
“The new coaches are making a lot of changes,” sophomore Jessica Gann said. “I think it will really help the team …improve ourselves.”
On select Saturdays, the entire team will coach an MVLA Girls Softball Recreation League clinic held at a different high school to encourage younger softball players. The clinic will be a fundraiser for new equipment and new uniforms.
Many returning varsity players this year are looking forward to a more varied year, and freshman should expect a totally new outlook on high school softball. This season will be different, but the team hopes for an improved one.
“It’s a building season because not everybody has been taught all the skills,” Haley said. “And [the coaches] are really good at doing that.”
Though the school’s softball team may have before been looked down on, the training wheels will come off.
“I’m definitely excited,” Lauren said. “We could definitely be able to turn around the reputation that softball has at school.”