“I was excited until I got out there and felt the chill in the air,” Sparks High softball coach Frank Avilla joked. “I guess that’s how you really know that it’s softball and baseball season here in Nevada though. With that aside, it’s very exciting. We have a good group of girls with about 32 trying out so we’re hoping to field about 14 on each team.
“The hard work that they’ve been putting in is showing and that’s something that we’re excited about. I saw a determination to be out there. They had a willingness to get better and a willingness to show that they are getting better. We’re seeing a lot of improvement.”
Like the Lady Railroaders, members of both of the Rail City’s Division I softball squads were eager to get back on the field to showcase their skills.
“We’ve been excited for a while now,” Spanish Springs coach Jeff Davidson said. “Open gym started a couple months ago and it went tremendous. We had a great turnout and participation with about 37 girls trying out. The attitude and hustle at try-outs today was great. It was a just a great day. We had a good turnout and the enthusiasm was great. Everyone is excited to get going with the season.
“As a coach, there’s nothing better. Open gym is great and we working out four or five days a week, but now that the season is finally here, it’s really exciting. We’re excited and ready to go.”
Reed softball coach Jon Wunder echoed those sentiments.
“As a coach, coming off of state last year, you’re always going to be disappointed if you don’t win it, and the best way to get over that is to get the next season started,” Wunder said. “So we’re definitely excited. We had about four or five girls playing basketball, but the rest of them have just been counting down the days. For a lot of girls, this is their primary sport so it is always exciting for them.”
While there is plenty of excitement in the air, getting the new season underway is not all fun and games.
“Tryouts are tough on the kids and tough on the coaches,” Wunder said. “As a coach, you have a lot to evaluate over a couple of days and you have to make some tough decisions on who is going to get cut or who is going to get put on JV. We have a good batch of kids that want to prove themselves.
“You’re trying to do what is in the best interest of the team, but these are teenage girls and sometimes the decisiona you make aren’t going to be favorable in their eyes. So I’ll be glad to get these next couple of days out of the way and get our teams in place and see what we have to work with.”
Although the final cuts will surely leave new faces on the varsity squads, everyone agreed that it feels like the season never ended a year ago.
“It just seems like yesterday that we were out there playing Elko in the playoffs and getting ready to go onto the next level,” Sparks baseball coach Greg Vasko said. “Unfortunately we lost that three-game series, so it’s exciting to get back out here.
“We’re really down in numbers. We graduated about eight or nine guys last year and only have three returning seniors, so it is going to be a year in which we have to utilize all of our younger talent. That’s exciting though because we’re going to have a bunch of new kids. It’ll be fun to watch them progress over the season.”