LETTS, Iowa–For the fourth year running, Louisa-Muscatine Junior-Senior High School’s softball team clinched their division title. The team beat Wapello 10-0 to advance.
Bryan Butler, Louisa-Muscatine’s head coach, considered the team to have played well. After not scoring any runs in the first inning, the Falcons came out swinging in the second and kept the momentum going for the rest of the game. “It was an all around team effort,” he said.
Butler also credited pitcher Hailey Sanders’ performance with helping the team achieve victory. “Our pitcher, Haylee Sanders, didn’t give up any runs,” he reported.
Because the season has had a different, compressed schedule due to COVID-19 school closures earlier this year, Butler explained that the Falcons will have a week of non-conference games before making their first appearance in tournament play July 15. “I contacted some coaches to set up some extra games to have us ready for regionals,” Butler outlined. This week, they will compete against Bettendorf, Williamsburg, Pleasant Valley, and North Scott to prepare them to eventually face either Cardinal or Van Buren.
Along with condensing their season, the COVID-19 pandemic has lead Louisa-Muscatine to make changes to their facilities and routines to keep players safe. Butler had one of the dugout walls removed, allowing for an additional bench. All benches have social distance markings on them, and players must sanitize their hands frequently and clean shared equipment after use. Butler has also requested parents drive their players to games to reduce the amount of close contact between them and has used additional vans and buses to transport those who needed a lift. In talking to his team, Butler took time to discuss the importance of making good decisions on and off the field as well.
Going into tournament play, Butler feels optimistic about the Falcons’ chances and knows that if they focus on fundamentals they can achieve great results. “I feel like we have a good shot, but we have to focus on every game and getting down to business,” stressed Butler. Both he and his players hope to take another shot at winning the state tournament.