IKE gets a new head coach, new field,
new players and a new season.
Written by Daniel Huston
With the 2012 Girls’ Softball season around the corner, Eisenhower is going through some big changes. A new coach, new players, new field, and above all, a new season.
The team that went 8-12 overall last season and fell short of the district playoffs by one game is currently looking for a new head coach now that Harry Pratt has resigned. Pratt plans to go back to school and pursue another career. Eisenhower is currently interviewing candidates and is expected to announce the hiring of their new coach as soon as the process is complete.
The team is returning a young, strong, and experienced group of girls who think they have what it takes to take the program to the next level.
“Last season was fairly successful,” says assistant coach Gary Jimenez. “Even though we came short of the playoffs, we graduated a great group of seniors who helped change the attitude and culture of our program.” The group that Jimenez speaks so highly of turned the program around and made IKE a legitimate league opponent for the first time in years. This season the team and coaches are looking forward to the leadership and strong play from returning players like Morgan Frost (shortstop) and Samantha Solomon (second base). These two together make up a strong infield. Also, Abigail Watkins (pitcher) and Josue Saldua (catcher) make a solid combo battery for opposing hitters. Ralynn Kelly (outfield) is also ready to take on any challenges in the outfield.
The big changes don’t stop there for the IKE softball team. As you drive by Eisenhower High School you might notice the construction taking place on campus. If you pay close enough attention you might notice that this construction is taking place where the baseball and softball teams practice and play their home games.
The major construction project started in June 2011. The project is what Yakima voters approved by passing the May 2009 school bond measure. The district-wide plan has three phases. They include the replacement of Eisenhower High School in phase one, new sports facilities in phase three ($112,653,200), a major modernization of Davis High School ($85,697,044), and a number of other schools around Yakima. Currently phase one is on schedule, phase two is on hold, and phase three doesn’t start until phase one is complete. The project is being paid by state and local funding. The total cost is estimated to be $218,095,817 and is expected to be completed in June 2013.
For the next several years, the IKE ladies are practicing and playing games at the Kiwanis parks across town. “The construction process will pay off in the long run, but it does create some difficulties in the short term,” says Jimenez. Practicing across town “will create some logistical issues on a daily basis.” For example, the school district operates an extra bus to carpool players back and forth after school. But don’t think this will hold the girls back from moving forward and achieving their season goals.
Make sure to follow up and catch a game as the Eisenhower girls compete in the talented Big 9 conference. They will use last year as a stepping stone as they face rivals Davis, Moses Lake and Richland, and compete for a 2012 playoff spot.