Early exit for Cardinals, Rogers determined for better outcome in second season

Published 7:27 pm Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Clark County as a whole experienced changes in the head coaching position for various sports.

George Rogers Clark softball is one of the sports that were included as they brought in Daniel Rogers after he spent two years as an assistant coach and eight years as head coach at Madison Central.

The Cardinals’ season ended on Monday after they fell 2-0 to Paris in the first round of the 40th District Tournament.

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Rogers said that the team reached progress in the right direction, but still has ways to go.

“We had different goals and winning district and region was on the list,” he said. “Our main thing was learning the game and learning how to come together as a team. We tried to perfect the way we played.”

Rogers said he understands that the team has to take it one day at a time with the goals.

“As far as accomplishing, we’re getting there,” he said. “All those that I just mentioned are long terms for my team and I. We want to try and shoot for region and district championship within five years so hopefully we can get there. We have to take it step by step.”

Despite the early exit out of the tournament, Rogers said he is still pleased with the improvements with the team and individual players this season.

“We’re still working on fundamentals,” he said. “We got a whole lot better since I came back in October for my first day compared to our last game. We had all kinds of errors at the beginning and towards the end of the season we were hardly making any. We got better and I still don’t quite think we are there yet, but we came pretty far.”

The players’ confidence in the batter’s box is one element that Rogers said the team will work on in the offseason.

“Hitting is one of the fundamentals we are going to work heavily on,” he said. “We talked all year about being disciplined at the plate and before you step into the box. We got better at having a better idea of the pitches coming and we can always still work on that more.”

Rogers said he knew it would be a battle stepping into his first year as head coach at GRC, but said he had set long-term goals rather than goals for only this season.

“The players were still learning a different coaching style,” he said. “Especially since they have been here a while and then all of a sudden I stepped in this year. My longterm goal is just to make adjustments on how everyone can get used to the system and we are still working on that. I think we did decent overall and I wish we had won more games, but we progressed as a team pretty well.”

Rogers said his staff is working to get the players involved in softball besides only preparing during the season.

“We are going to work on the girls playing travel ball,” he said. “One of our goals is to establish a travel program to help feed into the high school program. It will take a few yeas to establish that.”

Rogers has his eyes set on two specific components that he feels will pay off for his team as next season progresses.

“One thing I want to work on my team with when school starts back is their physical conditioning,” he said. “Another thing is getting them stronger. We have a lot of young players that have great talent so we want to focus in on everybody’s strengths. Emily Schooler is an eighth grader and we clocked her throwing 60 miles per hour so she throws really hard. Ashley Martin is also one of our strong pitchers who is also in eighth grade so we want to try and strengthen them and help with their control of the ball.”

Rogers said that the strength to be able finish strong will be important in helping the team to see success next season.

“Courtney Miles is working on her game and she was probably one of the best players we had, if not the best,” Rogers said. “Strengthening and conditioning will be key to help with the fundamentals and perfecting that part of the game.”

Rogers admits that it takes some getting used to a new coaching style so he understands some of the struggles the team went through this year.

“The girls are still learning the coaching style and it is different than what they are used to,” he said. “We want to make the practices the same each time so they can develop their skills. We will probably spend more time on making it clear on what we expect as far as practice wise. We haven’t had time to sit down and evaluate everything on what we can do better next year.”

GRC only had two seniors in Claire Brandenburg and Whitney Walker who are both planning to play at the next level in college next season.

The Cards had six eighth graders and seven juniors, all of which seen significant playing time.

Rogers said that he doesn’t like to make any excuses, but feels like experience had a role in the season outcome.

“Early in the year you could look at our lack of experience and it definitely made an impact on our season,” he said. “It is still a factor and I am not going to make excuses on what happened. We got beat when it mattered, but next year we’ll have several seniors and a couple of juniors. Most of our team will still be freshmen and sophomores, but they will at least have a year or two under their belt now. Next year I feel like we have the chance to be a strong contender.”

GRC finished 11-18 on the season.