NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - The NPCC softball team has just ten returners on their 24 player roster, and have been relying on the freshmen to be involved in the fall season.
The Knights open their spring season on Feb. 21, playing against Vernon College, in Vernon, TX (Credit: Patrick Johnstone/KNOP-TV)
"You always are depending on that freshman class to usually do a lot of work for you. Our freshmen this year, from top to bottom, our freshmen are pretty solid, they just have to learn the college game. That's the biggest adjustment, I think, for any freshman," head coach Janelle Higgins said.
The Knights lost seven players to graduation last year, and those players all contributed a significant amount on the offensive side of the ball.
"When you lose seven kids that hit over .300, it doesn't happen a lot on teams, so when it does, that's a huge void for us. So, when we do get practices in, and this facility is going to see a lot of use in the next couple months, because we've got a lot of work to do," Higgins said.
Megan Hernandez-Belew is a sophomore center fielder on the team, she says the freshman have been doing a good job adjusting so far.
"I think it's hard at first, being thrown into this program is hard, coach expects a lot. But, what she expects is better for us, and better for the team, and a lot of the girls are adjusting really well," Hernandez-Belew said.
At this point in the season, it's not abundantly clear how this team will perform. but the team looks like it will be strong defensively.
"I think we're looking really good. We have a lot of talent, our pitchers are really strong, our infield makes a lot of plays, and our outfield is really quick," Hernandez-Belew said.
The Knights have their final fall game Friday, Oct. 4, when they host Northeastern Junior College for the strike out childhood cancer doubleheader. Their spring season starts on the road when they visit Vernon College, in Vernon, TX, on Feb. 21.