The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

July 7, 2012

Off-season work key for Queens

CLINTON — It was pretty apparent that Clinton fielded a better softball team this season than it did the year before.

Clinton coach Trina Cewe told her team after its season-ending loss to Dubuque Hempstead on Thursday that they progressed a lot this year but she wanted to see them take an even larger step forward heading into next season.

“We just had individual meetings the other day,” Cewe said after the team finished its season with a 10-23 record, doubling its win total from 2011. “We talked a lot about a few common themes that I wanted to see and the kids wanted to see. We need to learn the game better. We need to have more softball knowledge. We need more communication. We need to hit year round. If you’re not hitting year round, everybody else is. Softball is not just a two-month sport. We need to treat it as a year-round thing and get to a batting cage once a week at least.”

Junior Keirstyn Davis, who finished the season second in the state with a .607 batting average, said hitting year round as a team was the biggest thing the River Queens needed to do.

Everyone associated with the program seems to agree the talent is there — a lot of it is very there — a lot of it is very young talent — but the River Queens need to take a couple steps to end next year where they want to, which is in Fort Dodge at the state softball tournament. Of course, that’s the goal of every team.

“We need to work on the mental part of the game,” Davis said. “I’d like to do like classroom studying, where you can sit there and go over scenarios and watch different games.”

Clinton had four players finish the season with batting averages better than .375 — Davis, sophomores Monique Harris and Sara Judge and eighth-grader Taylor Altemeier. Clinton batted better than .300 as a team and scored 164 runs. But the River Queens allowed 288 runs and had a team ERA of nearly 8.00.

“We have a lot of work to do in the pitching circle in the offseason,” Cewe said. “I think both pitchers would agree to that. Hopefully, they’re willing to do it. We could really, really use the help there.”

Altemeier is one of a group of four eighth-graders who started for Clinton this year. She said there were some things the group of talented younger players could work on.

“I think we should probably work out our arms and our legs just to get stronger,” Altemeier said. “We need to practice often and go to batting more, the typical stuff to get better.”

One thing Cewe said was she wanted Clinton softball to be more of a team than it seemed to be at points this season.

“I still am disappointed in the whole team aspect of it,” she said. “I think we’re playing more as individuals, nine individuals out there, instead of a team. That’s something we’ve been stressing. We’re going to try to do the team-building stuff in the offseason and hope that helps. I think we can be a much better collaborative team.”

But the River Queens showed a lot of flashes of promise, doubled their win total from last year and were excited about softball.

“I had a lot of fun,” Altemeier said. “I can’t wait to come back next year.”

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