Truckee softball swinging into new season |

Truckee softball swinging into new season

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunTruckee High senior Jordan Raber practices her swing in the school's gym during practice last week.

It’s the same story for prep sports every spring ” or at least the past few.

Winter storms slam the Truckee-Tahoe area late in the season, dumping snow measured by the yard and burying ball fields at local schools and parks.

“If it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen to Truckee softball,” Mitch Brown, head coach of the Truckee High softball team, said of the spring snowfall and its ill timing for his team’s purposes. “That’s just the way it is.”

So Brown and his team ” not to mention the baseball and track squads ” seek refuge in the dry confines of the gym. There, they can toss the ball around, take cuts off a pitching machine and field ground balls.

It works. But it’s hardly ideal.

“Hopefully [the snow] will melt so we can get some ground time,” said Kelly Stephens, a senior shortstop and third-year varsity starter. “Being in the gym is not beneficial.”

Brown agreed.

“It’s not at all [beneficial],” the coach said, explaining that ground balls on the gym floor ” using a Softie ball, nonetheless ” always take a “true hop,” and that it’s a challenge to keep the girls focused for extended periods of time practicing indoors. “I just want to see dirt.”

Ironically, the better part of the winter ” December through February ” was dry, for the most part, while the area’s most substantial snowfall arrived days before Brown held tryouts the last day of February.

“I’m gonna have my tryouts in December next year,” Brown said jokingly.

Weather aside, Brown and Stephens said they like the makeup of this year’s team. Brown didn’t even make any cuts, leaving a group of 14, including two freshman call-ups ” Rachel Zissimos, a pitcher, and Chelsea Cordell, who can play multiple positions, Brown said.

“This team is very, very strong,” Stephens said. “We all mesh really well already. Everybody really wants it.

“Rachel is gonna really help us with pitching,” the senior added.

Stephens isn’t the only returning senior impressed with Zissimos, who will bolster a small pitching staff led by junior Morgan Womack.

“I think we’re going to be strong, especially with our new pitcher, Rachel,” senior outfielder Jenny Geresy said, adding that the freshman’s strength is “definitely heat.”

As far as the team’s strengths, both Geresy and Stephens said hitting stands out. And that’s a good sign based on last year’s group.

“We struggled with hitting last year,” Stephens said, “so that’s going to be one of our main focuses this year.”

It’s too early in the season to judge the squad’s defense, they said.

“I like our attitude,” Brown said. “We’ve got a great attitude this year.”

The key to winning, said Stephens, will be “Staying with it. We can’t just give up if things go bad.”

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