Coaching From Ground Zero

The softball team hired three brand new coaches to take the team to new heights.

Softball+coach+Madi+Osias+demonstrated+proper+throwing+technique+to+the+softball+team+during+practice+on+Sept.+8.+Osias+played+professional+softball+as+a+pitcher+with+the+Pennsylvania+Rebellion.

Sofia Aguyao

Softball coach Madi Osias demonstrated proper throwing technique to the softball team during practice on Sept. 8. Osias played professional softball as a pitcher with the Pennsylvania Rebellion.

Ella Rogge, Editorial Editor

Prior to the 2020 season, the softball team hired three new coaches to lead the team to build both their skills and relationships. Coaches Nick Ellwanger, Brett Lange and Madi Osias were brought in over the summer and led the team in training for five weeks before the season began.

“By committing to come to each practice in the heat and working long hours to get better,” Ellwanger said, “players have shown they are committed to the team, which encourages the coaches to keep pushing the team to get better.”

Having all new coaches is a unique experience for the team, giving them the ability to start fresh. Through the coaches’ and players’ joint work and cooperation, the team has been able to create a specific dynamic in order to build skill and gain speed. This focus on building is expressed in their practices where they are divided, allowing some to focus on skills such as hitting the ball, and others to play on the field and work as a team.

“The new coaches have changed the way we practice,” Ellwanger’s daughter, junior Lauren Ellwanger said. “They make sure we are more focused and if we mess up we keep going until we get it right.”

Each new coach is different and provides their own unique influence on the team, whether their focus is on attitude, focus or skill. They have years of experience, an investment in the team, providing each practice a positive and lively atmosphere while keeping the girls focused. This environment and focus on each individual while also the team as a whole provides the girls with a unique excitement entering the field

“I really like the new coaches because they bring a new and exciting energy to the team,” junior Angelina Ferrara said. “They seem more invested in the team and really want us to improve our game.”

Head softball coach Nick Ellwanger tosses up a softball during hitting practice on Sept. 8. Ellwanger’s longtime love for softball partly inspired him to coach the team. (Sofia Aguyao)

Through the use of mottos, Ellwanger is able to catch the attention of the girls and focus their attention on specific concepts such as the importance of attitude and willingness to push yourself. Under his influence, the team has been working on different mottos for the season with Osias favoring ‘Attitude and Effort’ and Lange routing for ‘Get a little better everyday”.

“Team mottos can be used to give focus and purpose to a team’s season,” Ellwanger said. “The reason a motto can be so powerful is because it brings the whole team together for one cause.”

Ellwanger, who is described by his players as being positive and influential, grew up with a passion for baseball and enjoys softball for its fast pace and the fact that he can share it with his daughter. He has coached Lauren previously and implements concepts of good sportsmanship, enjoying the game and improving a little everyday. Ellwanger is impressed with the team’s efforts thus far, especially for putting in long, hot hours over the summer at practice while maintaining a happy atmosphere.

“The previous coaches left a foundation of togetherness and enjoying the game,” Ellwanger said. “And I wanted to make an impact on the Sion softball program, create a positive environment for the team and help players get better, but most importantly, to share this great experience with my daughter.”

Lange believes that his passion for softball sprouts from its fast pace and the life lessons it can teach you. He appreciates how everyone works together and believes the key to success is to put work in and improve every day, whether that “may be by a little or a lot”. Whether having a good or a bad day, Lange sees the value of teamwork because in softball, the blame for the loss or win cannot be put on any one person. 

“In life you will have good days and bad days but most of the time we must work together with others to succeed,” Lange said. “My hope for each kid that comes out for softball is they take away life lessons that last them well beyond their four years at Sion.”

Softball coach Brett Lange swings at a ball during hitting practice with the softball team on Sept. 8. Lange is an avid softball supporter and hopes to improve the team’s skills and mentality regarding the game. (Sofia Aguyao)

Osias, described by the team as being an intense coach, has played softball for over 20 years and her passion for it stems from its inclusiveness, allowing anyone an opportunity as long as they put in good effort and attitude. She played softball throughout college at the University of Mississippi, and then went on to play professionally for the Pennsylvania Rebellion.

“The game doesn’t know if you are short or tall or a freshman or a senior.” Osias said. “I love that once you step onto the field everyone is the same and each pitch you are given an opportunity to prove yourself.”

The coaches’ plan for this year includes teaching the team good attitude and effort, improving their skills, enjoying the game and to hopefully agree on a motto for the season. They hope to build a family in the team and to guide them as best they can.They all balance each other out and bring different dynamics to the team,” Lauren said. “The players work harder at practice and want to always be improving at practice because of the influence the coaches have.”