ISHPEMING - His first-year Ishpeming High School girls softball team has played three games to date this season, prompting manager Jeremy Thompson to make the following observation:
"We have the capability to compete as a first-year program," he said.
The Hematites played three games in the 10th Annual MSHS Spring Swing March 29-30 at the Superior Dome. They tied Superior Central, 3-3; lost to the Escanaba JV team, 5-3; and beat Newberry, 6-0.
"Our overall athleticism is our (team) strength," Thompson, 36, said. "We have girls who are very coachable."
IHS athletic director Terry Roberts said discussion about starting a school softball team began about a year ago.
"We thought at first, we might co-op with another team," he said. "But then, we decided to go on our own with a self-funded program
"The interest has been great. There are 16 girls on the roster and everyone around here is excited about it."
He added the Hematites will play at the Ishpeming Playgrounds on the fastpitch softball field there.
There will also be a Mid-Peninsula Conference softball schedule involving IHS, Westwood, Negaunee, Gwinn, Manistique and Norway, Roberts said.
Thompson, who has coached Little League fastpitch softball the last five seasons, said due to snow cover on the IHS diamond, practice has been held in the school gym every day.
Some Hematite players have fastpitch experience, while others have played slowpitch softball, he said.
"Based on the number of girls who played fastpitch in the past, we have a pretty bright future here," Thompson said.
"A title in the M-PC would be nice, but we just want the girls to compete and have fun.
"Our goal is to have a winning record this season," he added, "but as individuals and team-wise, we're just looking for improvement by the end of the year."
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.