Softball factory is back to work at North Linn
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The North Linn softball team is coming off an unforgettable season that ended with the Lynx claiming the Class 2A state title.
“Last year, there weren’t a lot of high expectations for our team just because all of our seniors graduated. This year, coming back from a state championship win, we just want to have fun and play our game,” said senior Jill Smith.
This year’s seniors have had quite the ride. They made it to the last three consecutive state championship games and won it all in 2019 and 2021.
“I think it can be kind of intimidating to some of the younger girls. I know when we won our first state championship, it was definitely intimidating to me,” said senior Jenna Lemley. “I think for us older girls it’s just something that drives us to show that we are just as good as we think we are,” she added.
It will be new territory for Lynx head coach Chad Spore who will lead an experienced group in just his second season at helm of the program.
“I’ve never been in this situation before,” he said about the team’s success. “Even when I coached youth and club, I’d rather be the person that nobody knows who you are,” he added.
North Linn returns 8 starters who know how to swing the bat.
“I think it gives us a sense of confidence and security,” Smith said about the returners. “Just to get started this season and to have a lot of people back, it’s a good thing to have.”
Last season, they hit 45 home runs and 329 RBI. The players made sure they got a stick in their hand this winter after seeing their hard work pay off.
“You may have amazing defense, but if you can’t score runs you can’t win games. It’s a good thing to have no breaks in the lineup. Everybody one through nine, everybody can hit,” said Lemley.
Practices leading up to their season opener, have been extended to accommodate for players finishing up their spring sports. Although the coaches are putting in more time, they believe it’s beneficial especially long-term for this team’s goals.
“We’ve found it’s an advantage because we get more one-on-one time with them. We put in more time, but we get it out of it,” said Spore. “These multi-sport athletes are built a little bit more for the competition and the rigor,” he added.
North Linn opens up the season against Maquoketa Valley Monday, May 23.
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