Fall Sports Media Day

North Platte Softball
News 2 at Ten
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 11:24 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - The North Platte Bulldogs Softball Team had a successful 2021 campaign, where they went 25-13 overall and then 4-4 in district play. The Dawgs finished 14th in the district (Class A) and are hoping to build off of that in 2022. North Platte Head Coach Jeff Barner, and Seniors Tatum Monelongo (pitcher), and Samantha Bales (outfielder) attended Fall Sports Media Day, to give their outlook on the 2022 season.

North Platte will welcome back a large portion of their squad, however, they did lose three seniors that saw a substantial amount of playing time for the blue and gold. But, Barner, says he has no doubt that the current senior class will step up and fill in those leadership roles.

While the Dawgs will be filling a few holes in their roster there is one area in particular that the team will see a lot of depth this year, and that’s in the pitching circle. One of the returners that the Dawgs will welcome back in the circle is the University of Omaha commit, Tatum Montelongo.

Montelongo spends her summers traveling and playing travel softball, she says it’s a time when she really gets to work on and focus on her technique and “hitting her spots.” But, as the fall approaches, she’s ready to play for her school and help bring titles back to North Platte.

“My summer season was awesome. I always love playing summer ball, but coming back home and playing for my high school team is just, it’s definitely a different atmosphere. It’s just nice to be able to play with North Platte on the front of your jersey and in front of all your fans.”

The Dawgs will also welcome back Samantha Bales, who has had to miss the past two seasons after tearing her ACL twice. Barner says he’s excited to have Bales on the field this year, for not only her talent as a softball player but her leadership as a Senior as well.

“Sam’s been great. She’s a great leader. She’s handled the injury with as much dignity and pride as you can. And it’s been tough, I remember getting the phone call about her tearing it the second time. I felt for her because you know it’s a hard battle to do once, let alone having to do it again. We’re really excited to have her with the team and she’s been with us and been a great leader, but now she’s gonna be able to step on the field and provide some of that leadership too. It’s gonna be huge,” says Barner.

The goals of the 2022 Dawgs include making a solid run in districts and making another trip to the state tournament.

“I think that’s kinda the standard right now in North Platte is to have those goals. Then, it’s always about development and team chemistry to get you through that final push. I expect us to be very tough at districts. You know there’s always that group of Class A Schools that make it to state and make some noise, and I think we’re in the conversation if everything goes well and we do the growth that we need throughout the season,” explains Barner.

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