Having made it as far as the sectional championships in 2015, and the regional championships in 2016, the Durand Bulldogs are expecting to go far again this season.
Assistant coach last year, Jake Nevdal will be the girls’ new head coach. He has some high hopes for this season, and believes it will be a competitive one.
“I want to be over 500, and I’m pretty sure we’ll reach that,” Nevdal said.
One lesson Nevdal hopes to teach his team is one that is not always taught at this level.
“I want to teach the girls that success doesn’t have to be in wins,” Nevdal said.
Nevdal hopes to mature the young team this season. The only Durand softball team there will be this year will be varsity. This means that there will be multiple freshmen and sophomores playing against juniors and seniors on opposing teams.
Although the team may be young, they are not short on experience. Lily Moore, who will be playing as a freshman on the team, has been playing softball since she was five.
“I’ve played on Freeport Crush, Stateline Fastpitch, and DYBASA as a shortstop and pitcher,” Moore said. A common goal for many players at this level, Moore hopes to hit some home runs, and improve her batting form some more. Fundamentals is also something Coach Nevdal is focusing on this upcoming season.
The team’s lone senior this year, Morgan Dutkiewicz looks forward to making some more great memories.
“I am excited for every game, but am most looking forward to our games against some of our rivals, Dakota, Pecatonica, and Orangeville.” Dutkiewicz said. Durand beat Pecatonica last year to advance to the regional championship. They fell short against Dakota, with a score of 10-2, to lose the championship.
A captain on the Durand varsity basketball team, junior Kaite Asche hopes to bring some of that leadership to this team as well.
“I’m going to be supportive to everyone, and encourage my teammates to do their best,” Asche said.
In the rankings posted on Rockford Register Star , Asche was ranked fifth last season in the Stateline area for batting averages, with .538. She
was also ranked for RBI’s, and points scored.
Having played for Durand’s softball team since freshman year, Asche has a good feeling of how the team works together.
“We get along great, and we support and encourage each other to do well,”Asche said of the team’s dynamic.