After appearing in their first West Sequoia League softball playoffs last season with a team of primarily sophomores, the Minarets Mustangs have set high goals for this years group of returning players.
Softball teams were allowed to start conditioning Jan. 24 for a week, and new varsity coach Ginny Taylor put her girls through a week of tough endurance and team building drills, ending with a trip to Fresno State in which players took part in the university's E.D.G.E. program. Female students from all sports were invited to take part in the one-day program.
The week started with the girls divided into groups of four taking part in drills that more resembled football Â“Hell WeekÂ” conditioning then softball. The tractor tire flip and cinder block drag, were but a few of the daily drills. It was a grueling workout which pushed each participant to their limits.
E.D.G.E. (Experientially Designed Group Effort), is a endurance and team building course, consisting of various mental, as well as physical tests, mixed with examining the elements needed to work together as a team - communication, trust, and commitment were the main topics of the day as the players took part in the course. Players worked on trust bonding exercises while stressing team work.
The day started with ground exercises and ended with players putting on suspension harness', climbing 3 story light poles, stepping onto a ledge and jumping out, attempting to grab a rubber chicken suspended 5 feet out, all while being supported by their teammates. In another drill players were hoisted 3 stories high by teammates and pulled their own "Rip Cord", releasing them in a 40 ft free fall. It was a great day for all that took part and the team left focusing on the key factors which make up a successful program. Communication, collaborate, and commitment, the 3 C's, will be the focus for this years group of ball players.
Taylor is taking the place of Coach Dave Maynez who is now coaching at YHS. She, with the help of coach Tammy Treat, organized team Mountain Dynasty, which played in the Kerman league to keep mountain players in game form throughout the summer. The team hopes to pull 4 to 5 girls from Mariposa, Yosemite, Minarets, and Sierra and compete throughout the valley in tournament play at the conclusion of the softball season.
This year's Mustangs will feature only three seniors, including a German foreign exchange student, but make no mistake, this is a seasoned, veteran team, loaded with talent and deep in pitching. If the first week is any indication, the Mustangs look to be well on their way to their first league title, with hopes of a Sectional Championship.
"As my first year as Minarets Varsity Softball Coach, I am excited to take this great group of athletes to the next level. They work hard, work together, and make me a proud to be a part of their journey!" said coach Taylor. All four mountain softball teams, Minarets, YHS, Sierra and Mariposa, will take part in a pre-season scrimmage March 7th. The scrimmage will be hosted by Yosemite.