By Chris Cox
After a hard-fought spring season, the Southeast of Saline Trojans were disappointed to bring home just a district title. However, head coach Pesha Ptacek is confident that her Trojans can bounce back and be even better next year.
“The vast majority of the team is sophomores and juniors,” Ptacek says. “We’re excited about the kids we have coming back next year and even the year after next, we should have a significant portion of our team returning.”
While most coaches rely on one or two key players, Ptacek considers herself lucky because she has an entire roster she can rely on.
“Everybody plays their role really well and that’s kind of our superpower as a team,” she says. “If one girl is off, we have confidence that another girl can step up. We have three really, really good pitchers. I would say we are a very balanced team.”
Despite not being able to name a singular player that tries to take the reins and lead, Ptacek says that’s not a problem because there is a core group of girls that make sure everyone is ready to work.
“We have eight to ten girls that just absolutely love the game of softball,” she says. “They want to be playing all the time. I have to kick them off the field at the end of practice because they just want the reps. We almost have to limit what they do instead of encouraging them to work harder.”
In that core group is Ptacek’s daughter, sophomore Brielle Ptacek.
“I’ve coached her team since she was like four years old,” Ptacek says. “Those girls have been at my high school practices since they were small watching the ‘big girls’ practice. That was a real push also reminding them that they are now the big girls and there are little girls looking up to them, watching them, and wanting to be like them.”
Ptacek hopes having young girls excited to watch her team play will help continue to build the program over the next several years.
One thing Ptacek says was encouraging this year and she is hoping to see again next year, is how her team has bought in.
“They’re all in,” she says. “They are willing to play roles, cheer for each other, and are happy when others are successful. They understand it’s not about individuals. It’s about the success of the team.”