Spring Break Softball Season Opening

Jamie Tanata

Jamie Tanata

South Dakota State University’s softball team is prepping up for one last season in Division II and planning to lay a solid foundation for their future in Division I.

Last season ended with their 26-32 overall standing, but this season carries much potential for the team with six new recruits.

“We’re constantly recruiting and trying to upgrade our program,” SDSU’s softball coach, Shane Bouman said.

“We have two incoming pitchers who are very talented freshmen. It should make it exciting,” he said.

This is Bouman’s third year coaching for the Jack’s softball team and has a lot of optimism for the season.

“We’re at a point where our squad can put a lot of pressure on other players. Our program is based on speed, pitching and defense,” Bouman said. “Speed will help us out offensively and defensively.”

Last year’s All-Conference and All-Regional junior centerfielder/outfielder, Ashley Kalina, said Bouman has made a lot of new changes. Ones that she said are for the better.

“We’re not just sitting back and hitting the ball as hard as we can,” Kalina said.

She said Bouman’s building the team on speed and athleticism.”We’re setting the foundation to a Division I team,” she said.

As one of the four returning players to the team, Kalina said this isthe last year to really leave a big impression before the switch.

“Our main goal is basically to win,” she said. “We’re all coming in with the same outlook; to win the NCAA in our last year, and we aren’t going to settle for anything less.”

Most importantly she said, “I want to come back in 2008-2009 and watch my girls play and say ‘I was a part of that.'”

Ali Adair, sophomore infielder, said she’s really excited for this season.

“We have come a long way this year. I don’t think the freshmen know it yet, but the upper classmen know how good we’re going to be,” she said.

Adair said once they start playing together it will really show. She said the team is just focused on the now and not looking too far ahead with playing on a Division I level.

“But for next year, I want to start a precedent, a tradition, a legacy on being good,” she said. “That’s what we need to focus on now.”

The Jack’s softball team makes up 13 players with four returning players.

“I think that’s a very comfortable number,” Bouman said. “We have a very young athletic team.”

Kalina said even though the team is young, it holds a great love for the game – a love that she says is almost more important than experience.

“People say we’re inexperienced but we have a strong passion and excitement for the game,” she said. “That’s probably the most important.”

Bobbie Jo Mitchell, junior outfielder, isn’t worried about playing with a young team.

“Our team will do extremely well. We have a lot of young girls, but they come from good programs,” she said. “We should win a lot of games, definitely be contenders in the conference and probably go beyond that,” she said.

While most students will be basking in the sun on some far away island over spring break.

SDSU’s softball team will be starting their season with 14 games in Orlando, Fla. at the Rebel Spring Games March 3-13.