Varsity softball looks to have a fresh start on the upcoming season

Varsity softball looks to have a fresh start on the upcoming season

FHC’s varsity softball team looked forward to playing in 2020. Abruptly, the season was canceled due to COVID, and many players missed out on their last chance to play for FHC. 

This year, the team is young but has some familiar faces. The Rangers are led by seniors Bela Gonzalez and Kylie Halverson. The two captains face a new role on the team, as they have to lead the players while mentoring the underclassmen. 

“There are five seniors on the team and we will probably start three freshmen in our opener,” head coach Tracy Jenkins said. “It could take some time for all of the new teammates to meld into a team. Our senior captains Kylie Halverson and Bela Gonzalez have really stepped up in our first week of practice.”

There is no doubt that this team will be set up for success in the future, as many people across the team believe that this year could be a breakout season for the program.

“Byron Center will be the team to beat in the conference, but we have the talent to compete and have a lot to say on how the conference finishes at the end of the year,” coach Jenkins said. 

FHC kicks off its season against East Kentwood on April 13. The team then faces conference foes in Greenville, Lowell, and Grand Rapids Christian. After GRC, the Rangers take on Zeeland East, East Grand Rapids, and Mona Shores. Although Byron Center is seen as the top dog in the OK White conference, EGR and Northview are also competing with FHC for the top of the conference. 

Following the Mona Shores game, FHC faces off against the Wildcats from Northview and Kenowa Hills. Beating these two opponents will be pivotal in FHC’s season, as it will give the team momentum heading into the last part of the year. The Rangers then match up against Zeeland West after Kenowa Hills. Shortly after, in the biggest game of the season, the Rangers take on Byron Center in their last conference games of the year. If they can win one or both of these games, the conference championship will head to the gang green of FHC. 

Finishing off the schedule, Central plays out-of-conference opponents in Calvin Christian, West Ottawa, and Catholic Central. None of these final games will be easy, so it is vital for the Rangers to finish the year strong.

“We’re going to face some tough teams this year,” senior Kylie Halverson said when asked about the schedule. “With a young team, it is important to get close early in the season. Then, we can become the best team possible and compete for a conference championship.”

Creating a bond and good chemistry between the underclassmen and the returners could be tough. After missing last year, many of these returning players have new teammates and are yet to play with the younger teammates.

“Missing a year of play is very challenging,” coach Jenkins said. “ It won’t only affect us, but it will affect our competition as well. I have trust in our leaders to get this team together and ready to compete for a conference championship.”