Softball team participates in regionals


Mateya McCord

Sophomore Tegan Livesay prepares to swing her bat.

Mateya McCord, Reporter

The Newton varsity softball team played many games this season and ended the unusual season at regionals on May 18. The team needed to win two games at regionals to qualify for state, which was a goal of many of the players this year. Their first game was played against Hays, which the Railers won 21-0. Goddard Eisenhower was the next opponent. The Railers fell 5-3, preventing them from qualifying for state. 

Even though the softball team did not qualify for state, the team said they had a great time playing with each other and were overall glad to have a season since the pandemic took away their season last year. Freshman Emmaline Huntley says that regionals was a great experience for her, and that the bus rides added to the excitement.

“Regionals was not how I expected it to be because it was so much better. It was so much fun playing with them and we played great. The best part of regionals for me was playing and the bus rides with the whole team,” Huntley said. “The bus ride to Goddard was super fun because we had good DJ’s and made really great Tik-Toks.”

In preparation for regionals, sophomore Tegan Livesay said the team focused on their hitting and had many tough practice sessions so that they could qualify for state.

“We prepared a lot of batting practice throughout the week. Coach Parks had the pitchers working a lot on pitching through these batting practice sessions,” Livesay said. “Overall we were just working together to achieve a common goal.” 

The first regionals game was postponed until later in the day, giving the team time to bond on the bus. They were given the opportunity to play later, which proved in their favor as they won. Making it through the first round, according to Livesay, was her favorite part of regionals. She also mentions that the team has improved greatly this season in comparison to previous and that she is very excited to see what the team will do next season.

“Leading up to the regionals games our team bonded by dinners, swimming and karaoke which was a lot of fun. I think the best part of regionals was making it past the first round and hanging out with Eisenhower the whole game. I think this gave the team a lot of confidence for next year’s season,” Livesay said. “I think we did a lot better than everyone expected at the beginning of the season. We have grown a lot as a team and I am very excited for what next season holds.” 

Coach Parks says that in order to see great growth from his team this requires support of the players from teammates and coaches both on and off the field. He additionally says that for him personally, he chooses to always be positive with his players and that his support remains the same each season and regardless of position or skill level. 

“I coach the same way all season. My support of the players remains the same. I try to be encouraging and positive with the players. I try to stay involved in the players activities outside of high school softball. Unfortunately at the high school level softball is very competitive. Not all players receive equal amounts of playing time. Also not all players get to play their desired position. But it’s bigger than just softball for those paying attention. Competitive sports provide many life learning opportunities. Learning to deal with coaches and learning to deal with other players is a first step,” Parks said. “The overall growth of the team was outstanding. The players gave it everything. We came up a little short losing 5-3, but in my mind we played the best game we had all year.