The Spring Sports season for the girls softball team begins a little sooner than normal this year.
The girls open against Sidney on April 2 as their first game in the area, but this team will be traveling to Florida for some practice and some games against some of the nation’s best teams.
The girls are headed to Cocoa Beach, Florida, where they will play school from Pennsylvania, Florida and Kentucky.
They leave for Florida on March 27.
Varsity head coach Bill Sammons said the most important thing about this trip is the experience they hope to gain.
“We know as a team we need to get more experience, we do have seven seniors, but a lot of those seniors don’t have experience in playing time,” Sammons said. “I’m going to throw them in the water and see if they swim.”
Sammons said the competition they will be facing are some of the best high school softball programs in the nation.
“They are going to be going against some of the best competition in the nation down there,” Sammons said.
“We’re going to see where we stand with some of the best schools in the nation.”
How is this trip made possible? Athletic director Brad Rex said fortunate timing.
“With the way their season starts and the break we have for Easter, it worked out perfectly,” Rex said.
Wapakoneta has a couple days off school for Easter break at the end of March, and the girls will be using their break to play softball.
OHSAA rules prevents athletes to miss school if they are not playing teams adjacent to Ohio’s borders.
“This works out perfect to where it lines up perfect with our season, so that we’re going to practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and then our season beings on Saturday. Then we come back Sunday evening,” Sammons said. “We start our game Tuesday against Sidney.”
Sammons said the opportunity presented itself about four years ago, and he said yes.
“That’s what we want to do in our non-league games, play teams that are really good,” Sammons said.
The weather is also expected to be nicer than Ohio weather, and it will be a nice start to the season, getting some solid games in without the fear of cold weather.
“It’s also nicer down there, so we don’t have to worry about this weather. The snow, the rain, Ohio’s winter is just bad,” Sammons said.
Sammons said it was also a good bonding opportunity.
“Basically to get together as a team. We’re going to be doing 2-a-days down there, we’re going to be practicing for four to four-and-a-half hours,” Sammons said. “Hopefully, it’ll be so nice down there that the girls won’t even know that they are working.”
Most of the money for the trip came from fundraising over the last four years. Sammons said it costs the girls $1,200 each for the trip, but that most of it was covered by hard work and fundraising.
“They worked hard and raised more than $15,000 to go down there. The girls just had to pay a little chunk of money, compared to what it is,” Sammons said. “They really worked hard for four years to raise the money.”
Sammons said he’s excited for the opportunity, and so is the team.
“We’re just really looking forward to is great competition and great weather,” Sammons said.
Oh, they are also a little excited about Disney World.