Hitting Off the New Season


Watching the Lakeland softball team go from ranking 16th in the state competition of 2021, within the 4A schools, to ranking 4th in 2022 is a huge motivational boost moving into this season. 

As the new softball season approaches, the nerves and excitement start to surface as the head coach, Dwayne Curry, and the girls begin their journey back up to the top. 

“We will need all of the returning players’ leadership and the energy of the new girls to lead us back to State,” Dwayne Curry said. 

Last year, the softball team won 16 games with only 14 losses, a big difference in comparison to the 2020-2021 season. They ended the season with a fourth-place finish after losing in the consolation game.

Throughout the open gym practices both Dwayne Curry, commonly known as “DC,” and the captain of the softball team have set a high standard for this upcoming season. Because the softball team was so much more successful last year than in previous years, the hard work put in by both coaches and student-athletes is something that is going to be more prominent during this season. 

The team is very capable of making it back to state but this falls on the shoulders of each player rather than just one person. “It takes every one of us to show up every day ready to work, and I plan to hold my team to high expectations as their team captain because I know they are all very capable,” Payton Sterling said. 

Softball requires skills that are learned during practice but also requires a lot of muscle strength. This year the coaches plan to have the girls be more active in weight lifting, focusing on upper body strength and legs.

In addition to this, the coaches will also have the girls train once a week at a Rathdrum gymnastics facility or at the Kroc Center, in the swimming pools, to get a great aerobic workout.

DC has set a goal to “better the record from the year prior,” a goal that he shares with his varsity players. He acknowledged that achieving this goal would be difficult and would not only be done through hard work, but also a good mentality. 

Winning a game requires a balance between hard work and a positive mentality. DC said the girls did a great job at remaining optimistic and raising one another up during a rough inning in one of the last year’s games. 

This was notable all throughout the season because of leadership regarding both the coaches and team captains. 

Alexis Hanna, one of the varsity softball players from last year said, “DC did a great job at setting a well-balanced mentality for both teams between optimism and trust.” 

“Trust between the athlete and the coach is a huge part of success,” DC said. He added that he feels he has done a good job setting this softball team up for success by first establishing and then building off a foundation of trust. This is not only between him and the players but between the players themselves. 

It helps that some of the athletes are friends going into the season, but for those who aren’t, DC has and will create opportunities for team bonding. Last year, different players took turns hosting team dinners which allowed the girls to become more comfortable with each other.

These are all huge attributes of Lakeland’s softball team and will continue to be in this year’s season.