GOOSE LAKE – The “Rebel Way” … that’s what Northeast softball head coach Travis Eversmeyer is preaching to his young team this year.
Well, not just this year. Eversmeyer has been part of Northeast coaching staffs for over ten years. Recently, he’s led the boys’ basketball program through deep postseason runs. He was at the helm of the softball program, too, until 2017.
When he left the position then to spend a little more time with his family during the summer, he told the Clinton Herald that there were certainly exciting things coming.
“Obviously, the cupboard is not bare,” Eversmeyer said at the end of the 2017 season. “With that many young kids, it was hard to step away. Whoever takes it over has a deep talent pool, and we have a pretty strong middle school program.”
He couldn’t stay away long. After a one-year hiatus and the job opening back up, Eversmeyer decided he missed being out on the softball diamond. Plus, after spending so much time with the Rebels he has a certain culture he wants to instill.
“Being around basketball and softball for over ten years, this school is important to me, these programs are important to me,” Eversmeyer said. “And I want them to be proud when they leave.”
What he inherited was a softball roster full of underclassmen and inexperience, but not lacking for talent. Not a single senior player graces their roster, with some of the more powerful hitting and pitching coming from sophomores.
With that, Eversmeyer got some inexperience even with the travel ball the team has played.
“The young ones are still trying to learn what’s expected of them so it’s a big-time mix of talent and inexperience,” Eversmeyer said.
You can see the improvement game to game from the Rebels. The speedy infield regularly plays sharp, throwing bodies into the dirt to make plays and keeping errors minimal. Plus, the Rebel bats are nothing to look past and the hits have started rolling in the last few games.
Playing hard is the culture he wants to change with the program.
“We want to do all the little things properly,” Eversmeyer said. “We want to in and out of the dugouts the Rebel way, just every little thing doing it as hard as we can. Taking pride in that this is the program we play for.”
He does say that he’s been gifted a roster of hard workers, which makes that a little easier. The Rebels had a string of frustrating games this year where they played close with the ranked teams they faced, but fell in the end.
“[We weren’t] believing we can beat the teams with the good records,” Eversmeyer said. “We’re beating everyone we’re supposed to but getting nipped at the end by teams we could beat.”
The Rebels, who sit at 19-13 right before the start of postseason play, changed that last week. In a breakout game, they downed Class 3A No. 8 Anamosa 13-3 and were close to nabbing the second of that doubleheader. They also beat Class 2A No. 8 Wilton on the road.
They’re playing loose and they’re playing clean, a good place to be before opening up districts Wednesday.
“Without culture you don’t really have anything,” Eversmeyer said. “We’re trying to pride them in the little things, playing hard every single time, playing the right way and doing all the things it takes to beat these teams.”
It started with changing the mentality for the Rebels and they’re starting to see the results. On Wednesday, they welcome Cascade to their home turf to open up the postseason. They split with the Cougars earlier this year. If they can make it past that game, they have a chance to take down another ranked team in No. 10 Beckman Catholic.
Even though Eversmeyer knew it was going to be a process with the young program, he sees no reason the results can’t start early.
“They’re right there talent wise and we knew this was a two-year process,” Eversmeyer said. “But we kind of want to get doing now.”