First year coach looking to make impact on team, league
While the last traces of snow melt away across Eastern Iowa, the Kirkwood Community College softball team is off and running. The Eagles have already completed a sizable chunk of their season schedule, including a spring break trip to Pensacola, Florida.
“I’m pleased with the way we have been playing so far,” Head Softball Coach Joe Yegge said. Coming in as a first year coach, Yegge was not sure what he would be working with this season, but he has been pleased with the way his athletes have responded. “It is hard coming in,” Yegge said. “I didn’t know much about any of [the players]. I knew nothing about the freshmen. It’s always hard to convince returners to play my style.”
Style questions aside, Yegge has tried to instill a few key values in his athletes that will help them take their game to the next level. “Punctuality, discipline and work ethic… that’s what it takes to move on to a four-year school,” Yegge said.
Yegge has already seen these qualities in a few of his players. He expects big things this season out of sophomore Melissa Brackey. She is the only returner who saw substantial playing time on last years’ sophomore dominated, national tournament squad. Yegge also said to look for Brianna ‘Bob’ Williams, who he moved from third base to the outfield. The Eagles also welcomed a transfer from Simpson College. Terra Van Buren has taken her place as the Eagles “go-to” pitcher.
Sophomore Heather White said that her team takes a “small ball” approach to the game. “We work to get base hits and runners in scoring position, rather than trying to hit the ball out all of the time,” White said.
The Eagles hope to use this approach to reach their goals. “Right now, we are just taking it one game at a time,” White said. “Us sophomores want to repeat winning regionals, and finishing much better at nationals than last year. We also really want to win the conference this year.”
As for his goals for this season, Yegge said that he is interested in competing and getting his team valuable experience. “This team is young, Yegge said. “There is not a lot of experience. Obviously our goals are to make it to Nationals and compete for the conference championship. We just want to be able to compete.”
For a complete Kirkwood softball schedule, visit: http://www.kirkwood.edu/softball