BLANCHARD — Trying to rebuild a program is a tough thing to do. But Vicky Sawyer is going to attempt just that with Montabella’s softball team.
Sawyer debuted as head coach of the Mustangs on Tuesday, losing the first two games of the season to Morley Stanwood at home.
“We’ve got a young team, we’re kind of in our restructuring year, we haven’t had a JV program for two years, so we’ve got a lot of kids playing who haven’t got a lot of varsity experience at all,” Sawyer said. “We knew we had a starting point and we’ll build from there. I think you’ll see a different team from us later in the season.”
Sawyer has been in coaching before. She had spent most of her time coaching on the middle-school level before coming to the high school softball position.
“I coached for 10 years at Montabella. Then I was off for 17 years,” Sawyer said. “I coached middle school sports, volleyball and basketball in between times. But softball is my most favorite to do.”
The players she’s seeing on her team now are familiar to her, as are the parents of the team.
“I had these kids in middle school,” Sawyer said. “I coached some of their moms, I played with some of their grandparents. So I know the kids, I know the moms, I know some of the grandparents.”
One of the biggest goals Sawyer has set out for this season is to make softball fun again for the players.
“Softball should be fun,” she said. “I think we can get fun going at Montabella again. Once you get kids having fun and excited in the program they’re going to play harder and do well. The last couple of years they haven’t enjoyed the sport so hopefully we can get that back here.”
Sawyer has installed a JV softball program at Montabella and that should help, she noted.
“I think people are going to be surprised,” she said. “I’m happy to be here, the kids are happy to be here. First of all, they have to have fun or they’re not going to be here.”
But she knows she has her work cut out for her.
“This is a team of young athletes but good athletes,” she said. “I think by the time we get about halfway through the season you’ll see a much-improved team. By the time we get to the end of the season people are going to be happy with what these kids are going to be doing.”