Down 9-5 going into the bottom of the sixth inning against Cascade on April 9, much of the Brown County High School softball team looked tired, cold and discouraged.
Junior Maddy Edds was having none of it.
Edds didn’t care that it was 40 degrees and windy as she stood in the dugout entrance trying to rally her team.
She wasn’t concerned that, whether they bunted or swung away, the Eagles hadn’t gotten a single runner past the Cadets since the third inning.
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The team still had two more innings, Edds told her teammates. That was plenty of time to come back.
The Eagles had already come back once, grabbing four runs in the bottom of the third to tie the score 5-5.
“[Edds] is very vocal, and a good leader — we’ve got a lot of ‘em,” said Head Coach Kevin Greve.
Whether the players need encouragement or correction, their teammates are there for them, Greve said.
“We have a really good camaraderie. The girls get along with each other — they have each other’s backs,” he said.
After each game, the Eagles take a knee in the outfield near the dugout and wait for Greve to give his post-game talk.
When they beat Columbus East 7-5 on April 8, the ring of players greeted Greve with smiles and barely contained excitement. Despite losing seven seniors last year — more than half the varsity roster — they were 3-1 for the season, and had just beaten a school almost three times their size.
After their loss to Cascade 11-5 the next night — a smaller school from their own conference — a ring of downcast faces met Greve in the outfield.
The team needs to work on consistency, and playing the game in the moment, rather than in the last mistake, Greve told them.
“I don’t care if you get 17 errors in a row; it’s the next play that matters,” Greve said.
From the start of the season, Greve said he expected ups and downs.
“There’s going to be some bumps in there — there always are — but I think it’s going to be a good season overall,” he said.
“We’ve got a really good group of girls that are going to continue to develop throughout the year.
“The best thing you can ask for as a coach is that, every single day, you get girls that they come in and they work hard and they listen to you and they apply what you teach them,” he said.
The team has strong leadership in its three seniors — Alyson Simpson, Rachel Smith and Kali Huesman — Greve said. The juniors are already taking on some of the upperclassman role as well.
Sophomore Sam Horning played last year but is relatively new to softball, Greve said. Yet, she showed up to the open practices that began in November and made every single open field workout last summer.
“You just see she’s getting better and better and better, and she’s probably going to have an impact this year at the varsity level as well,” Greve said.
“There’s a lot of growth going on with a lot of these girls, and even the ones that had never really played much softball before, they’re getting better,” Greve said. “You can see the development taking place, which is kind of cool. There’s really something neat about that.”
But even with the pieces there, from individual player skill to team cohesion, getting more wins this season is going to require that the Eagles build something with those pieces, Greve said.
“Right now it’s just kind of be a matter of, ‘Are we gonna be consistent?’” Greve said. “That’s gonna be the next thing as we continue our maturation process.
“Are we going to play really well one game, and then are we going to take a step back, or are we going to take a step forward — are we going to keep going forward?” he said.
Seniors: Alyson Simpson, Rachel Smith, Kali Huesman
Juniors: Vicky Kelp, Azhia Morgan, Faith Williams, Jordan Weaver, Maddy Edds
Sophomores: Katy Harsch, Jasmine Imming, Sam Horning, Emma Quackenbush
Freshman: Rachel Kilby
Juniors: Jordan Weaver
Sophomores: Kyla Halcomb, Emma Quackenbush, Jasmine Imming, Evey Butler, Mikaela Smith, Kara Payne
Freshmen: Rachel Kilby, Ali Griffith, Hailey Lane, Gracey Bay, Izzy Allan, Lexie Weddle