Big shoes to fill for Tabor softball
The Tabor Bluejays’ season ended on a high note last year, with a KCAC tournament championship, and NAIA tournament berth.
To reach those same heights, Saturday’s home games will be valuable in preparing for the spring season, new coach Karen Harris said.
“It gives us a good opportunity to see where our new additions fit in,” she said.
The annual round robin is the last outing of fall, which will feature five other teams, from colleges and junior colleges.
“It’s nice to play somebody besides ourselves because we do a lot of intra-squad scrimmaging during practice,” she said “It also gives me a chance to kind of recruit, take a look at some of these high school kids who might want to be future Bluejays.”
Harris is a first-year coach, but she’s no stranger to the program. She played for Tabor as an undergraduate, and served as a coaching assistant for three years under Suzanne Unruh.
“It was nice that it wasn’t a new team with a new coach,” Harris said. “I wouldn’t say a whole lot has changed. We just picked up where we left off.”
The coaching changes and expectations weren’t the only factors to take into account.
“We just added a new team to the conference, so it’ll be interesting to play a team we’ve never seen before,” Harris said.
Fall ball is good because it allows the players to get acclimated as a team before the season, she said.
“It’ll be nice to see where we left off last year, having only graduated two starters,” she said.
The team returns three senior infielders, two senior outfielders, and a two-time all-American junior pitcher.
“I think that attributed to our success last year, we had a bunch of returning starters,” Harris said. “It’s the same thing this year. We have many kids who have been on the field and they’ve seen the competition.”
Trying to match last season’s success is a challenge, and she likes that.
“It definitely makes it more fun,” Harris said. “It might be more challenging because we do have such big shoes to fill and the target on our backs is going to be even bigger than it was going into last season.”
She likes the expectations to follow up last year’s performance because it raises the intensity.
“They know what it feels like to get to the next level and I think they’re hungry to do that again,” she said. “I think that’s really going to work in our favor.”