Emeralds softball kicks off in Dome
MANISTIQUE – With over two feet of snow still covering the baseball field, Jessica Nord and the Lady Emeralds hit the road to take part in the 10th annual Marquette Spring Swing Classic last weekend at the Superior Dome.
Following a rough start against perennial powerhouse Gladstone, the Lady Emeralds new head coach said her team settled in, shook off the pre-season jitters and finished the tournament playing OK, despite not being able to practice outside yet this season.
“We saw a lot of improvement throughout the weekend,” Nord said. “The environment there is totally different from anything we are used to; it’s a big dome with lots of people. That, along with not being able to practice outside, created some challenges for us.”
Shaking off the 18-0 loss to the Braves in the opener, Manistique trailed early, and then mounted a comeback, tying Superior Central 7-7 in game two. Game three left no doubt expectations are high for Nord and squad of 17 who finished the tournament with a 13-3 win over the Houghton Gremlins.
“It will be nice to finally get on a field,” Nord said. “The first hit in the Gladstone game was a fly ball, up to that point our girls have seeing one yet.”
Nord said up to this point, they were forced to practice in the gym, which in a game like softball, has limitations – hitting is one of them.
“This game is about hitting the ball, and that was the difference in the teams we played and the one we watched, they hit the ball,” she explained.
While young, Nord said she was happy her team was not making errors, they were just not hitting the ball well yet.
“There is still a lot of work to do,” she said. “Playing in the dome we were able to identify areas that need work, ones we could not see practicing in a gym.”
Blessed with a solid group of returning starters, this year’s team will hit the field with several new faces; ones that Nord feels will make for a competitive team.
“Our goal is to finish 500 and get another shot at Gladstone in the districts,” she said.
The Emeralds return seven: seniors Kelsey Gonyea, Niki Walters, Cayla Strasser and Hailey MacGregor; along with sophomores: Sam Williams, Sami
Walters and Kelsey Morgan. Rounding off this year’s squad is: Bri Richey, Lindsay Knuth, Sydney Chartier, Allie Nagy, Allie McKinney, Ashley Menominee, Jamie Erickson, Madison Russell, Amanda Ziminski and Sam Lyntz. With snow and cold weather still an issue, the Emeralds’ home opener against Rapid River April 11 has been cancelled. Should conditions improve, Manistique will host Westwood April 15.