The exciting world of high school softball in NWI

The exciting world of high school softball in NWI

High school softball is more than just a sport—it's an experience that shapes athletes, fosters teamwork, and creates lasting memories. In communities across the country, high school softball teams showcase talent, dedication, and the thrill of competition. Let's delve into the dynamic world of high school softball and explore what makes it so special.

High school softball serves as a crucial platform for developing young athletes. From honing fundamental skills like hitting, pitching, and fielding to mastering strategic gameplay, student-athletes gain invaluable experience that prepares them for higher levels of competition. Coaches play a pivotal role in nurturing talent and instilling a passion for the sport.

Softball, like many team sports, thrives on the principles of collaboration and unity, especially within high school teams. Student-athletes not only refine their physical skills but also learn invaluable lessons in communication, trust, and accountability. Within the dynamic of a team, effective communication becomes paramount as it ensures everyone is on the same page, fostering cohesion and synergy on and off the field.

“Being a part of a team sport makes you, as an athlete and a person, take a step back from focusing solely on your own performance and instead helps you focus on your team’s success as a whole. As an athlete, you learn the importance of communication. You are taught that a healthy team dynamic goes a long way. You learn that you don’t need to have the loudest voice on the field to make a positive impact. My time here at Lake Central (LC) has helped me grow as an athlete by showing me that it doesn’t just take one person to win or lose a game and that no one in this sport, or in life, is perfect,” said Sofia Calderaro, a junior pitcher of the LC High School softball team.

Participating in high school softball teaches important life lessons beyond the game. Athletes learn resilience in the face of adversity, whether it's overcoming a tough loss or bouncing back from setbacks. The discipline required to balance academics with athletics instills valuable time management and prioritization skills.

"I can almost guarantee that the girls are tired of hearing Coach Scott say, 'This is a life lesson ladies. The faster you learn it, the better off you are going to be in life.' We constantly talk to our young ladies about their futures, that one day the time will come when they must take control of their lives. They will have to prove to their future boss that the promotion, the job, or the raise up for grabs; deserves to go to them. Growing up in Portage, there was always a grittiness that our teams played with; that regardless of the outcome, any team that walked onto the field against Portage was in for an all-out battle,” said Scott Riley, Portage High School softball coach.

High school softball games are not just sporting events—they're community gatherings. Families, friends, teachers, and fellow students come together to cheer on their local teams, creating a spirited atmosphere that boosts morale and fosters school pride. The support from the community fuels the enthusiasm and passion of the players.

“For the small school we have, we get so much support from our community and classmates. Most of our home games we have full stands, and people lining up on the foul fences. All of the girls on our team have great families and support systems that come to watch which is also so awesome. The atmosphere really gives the whole team confidence and a sense of swag to play hard and work to show the people why they should continue to come and see us. It really is impressive and I have always been very happy that so many people take time out of their day to support women’s sports at such a small school,” said Clara Phariss, a senior pitcher at Wheeler High School. 

For many student-athletes, high school softball opens doors to college opportunities. Talented players may attract the attention of college recruiters, leading to scholarships and the chance to continue their softball careers at the collegiate level. The skills and experiences gained through high school softball can have a transformational impact on a student's future.

“The advice that I have for student-athletes aspiring to play at a college level is to attend college camps, email as many college coaches as possible, and send out your schedule to different schools you may be interested in. Creating a twitter account and posting your highlights helps put your talents out there for colleges to look at. College camps are a great way to get a feel of how practices are organized at a collegiate level. You get to see firsthand how fast-paced and efficiently things are run,” said Mercedes Lira, a Wheeler High School alumna. 

Throughout the season, high school softball teams celebrate achievements and milestones. From winning important games to achieving personal bests, each success is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the athletes and coaches. These accomplishments create cherished memories that last a lifetime.

“One challenging moment I faced during a game was when I made an error in the outfield that allowed the opposing team to score. I reminded myself that mistakes are part of the game and an opportunity to learn and improve. I focused on staying positive and supporting my teammates. I kept my head up the rest of the game not letting that one play affect my performance for the rest of the game,” said Morgan McIntyre, a junior softball player at Westville High School. 

High school softball emphasizes the importance of sportsmanship and fair play. Respect for opponents, officials, and teammates is instilled in every player, fostering a positive and inclusive environment both on and off the field. High school softball sets a standard for good sportsmanship that extends beyond the game.

“We are striving to build an environment open to growth and unity.  We are dedicated to instilling life lessons that transfer into employability skills for the girls later in life. These skills include communication between coach and player, accountability, and punctuality,” said Gianna Hamady Mortimer, Wheeler High School’s head coach.

As each new season approaches, high school softball teams eagerly anticipate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. The thrill of competition, the camaraderie among teammates, and the support of the community continue to make high school softball a cherished tradition in schools everywhere.

“With LC being the biggest high school in our area, we have the opportunity to pull community support from multiple towns around us (Dyer, Schererville, St. John, etc). This includes businesses, families, and future LC player support. Having people on LC’s side in the stands gives off love, support, and a unique vibe. There’s nothing like playing for people that support you on and off the field,” said Yvette Tovar, LC softball coach.