Softball Seniors’ Last Chance for State


Cassie Bundrick

Kirsten Ritchie pitches the ball.

Madeleine Johnson, Editor in Chief

Peninsula girls’ softball is back and more determined than ever! With a new league, a new coach, and unsatisfactory weather, this year’s seniors (Shelby Bottiger, Alyssa Mernone, and Nikki Endres) have led the team to to adapt, overcome, and set goals. This year they’re focused on state, something they haven’t been able to do for four years.

“I feel like it’s gonna be a good season and we’re all tough competitors. No matter how it ends up, we’re gonna play with our hearts,” said Alyssa Mernone, playing right field catcher.

A slow start to the season, four games in a row were rained out.

“We had a really rocky start. We’ve only been outside three times,” said Shelby Bottiger, playing softball since age two and currently playing first, second, and third.

Despite the prolonged beginning to their season, the girls didn’t let the weather dash their spirits. When the rain subsided on Monday, their first game was held. Right down to the last inning, the girls gave their all and came out with a win.

“We just fought, and kept fighting,” said Mernone, on their first game.

Playing in a new league with a new coach has made the season completely different from last year, but it’s also made the girls more optimistic. New coach Peter Pratz has presented a positive change for the team, and is always challenging them to go outside of their comfort zones, while simultaneously helping the girls “gain confidence.”  

“I’m always giving him a hard time, he’s constantly proving that we can do something that we haven’t done,” said Mernone.

This boost in confidence, and the “second family” bond they share, has only strengthened the girls. A unified team may be the answer to the team going to state.

“We’re just trying to do more team bonding, we pick each other up after we make a mistake,” said Bottiger.

Nikki Endres, playing pitcher and first, also has firm belief in her team’s ability to make it to state. As their “last chance” to go as far as they can, the seniors realize how special this year is for them. Mernone, Bottiger, and Endres have been playing together for years, and are friends on and off the field.

“This season it’s our senior year, our last chance to go as far as we can in high school ball with a great new coach that has made the girls closer,” said Endres. “ It’s going to be a fun last year.”