Salty beads of sweat trickle down the tired faces of the Ames High softball team as they undergo another torturous practice. The sun is simmering hot, and their bodies are beyond exhausted, but the girls know they need to give their all in every moment of the season if they want to finally taste the success theyâve been craving for so long. Perhaps this will be the year the teamâs hard work allows them to achieve their dreams and come out on top. This goal is not unreasonable, especially considering the loads of experience returning to the team this year. âThis yearâs team has the potential to be very successful in the 2011 season and an opportunity to take the program to a new level,â said head coach Gary Gorman. âOver the past three seasons the team has steadily shown improvement and has gained valuable experience to compete in the CIML. Their experience along with their desire to win is a perfect combination for success.â Due to the tremendous work-ethic displayed by the whole squad, sophomore Hannah Bonestroo, a varsity player, firmly believes this season is âgoing to be the best the program has seen in a long time.â Unfortunately, a vast majority of the student body doesnât even know Ames High has a softball program. Softball isnât as publicized or recognized as a lot of the other sports because the majority of the season occurs over summer break. However, the potential of the little-known softball team shouldnât go ignored. âWe have a group of young ladies who not only enjoy playing softball, they want to become better softball players. Many of the girls made a commitment to the program and to their teammates in the off-season to improve their game by attending a weekly two-hour workout session where the focus was developing stronger offensive and defensive skills,â said Gorman. The ability is undoubtedly present and the determination is overwhelmingly strong. However, the team does have a few weaknesses to overcome in order to be triumphant. âI think to have a successful season we need to communicate with each other more,â said Bonestroo. âAlso, if someone makes an error, we need to encourage them and not let it affect our performance.â Communication will undoubtedly be a vital factor for the team to function properly. âDeveloping an understanding for what every player on the field is going to do is extremely important, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Knowing what your teammates are going to do once they get the ball is crucial to the success of the team,â said Gorman. By continuing to improve through practicing, the team will hopefully be able to fulfill their goals. Be sure to take a stroll down to the ball park this summer to watch this hardworking group compete. The first game of the season is scheduled for May 24 against Boone, and fans will be mandatory for cheering on the team as they slug their way to victory.