Raiders dictating their pace

Photo by Jimmy Lafakis/The Herald
Southridge head coach Jason Songer gives instructions during a drill at a practice in Huntingburg.


HUNTINGBURG — Speed weaves a common thread throughout all sports. The threat of speed tips the scales in the quicker team’s favor and causes the opponent to adjust.

Jason Songer is starting his first year as the Southridge softball team’s head coach, and he sees potential in the Raiders’ agility.

“I believe we’re going to have a lot of speed,” Songer said. “We’re going to be pretty athletic and have a lot of speed this year. I think that’s going to be a big benefit for us. With the speed and the athletic ability, that usually translates to a pretty decent defensive team. I really think those are going to be our three intangibles this year that are going to hopefully make for a very successful season for us.”

In Songer’s words, the Raiders were “chomping at the bit” to take the field. Southridge’s roster is loaded with depth — the veteran core features juniors Loren Fleck, Karly Barnett, Kylie Evans, Maddy Songer, Lydia Ramsey, Emma Marley, Myah Montgomery and Mikah Goeppner. Seniors Briley King, Maddie Songer and Kennedy Nalley provide seasoned options across the diamond.

Montgomery and Maddy Songer will take center stage in the circle, while Goeppner will do her work behind the dish. Nalley, a true utility player, has started since her freshman season. King and Maddie Songer found their footing as sophomores.

Infielders, outfielders, pitchers and catchers abound — the Raiders cover all the bases.

“We’re going to be pretty versatile,” Jason Songer said. “We’ll have some girls that can play in the outfield and the infield. We will try to mix it up a bit this year as far as not having just one position for one girl. Depending on who our opponent is, it might be better to place a girl in another position.”

As he surveyed Southridge’s upcoming schedule, Songer tipped his cap to teams both in and around Dubois County. The Pocket Athletic Conference provides ample competition, but other schools from outside of the immediate area also present formidable foes.

In turn, Songer expressed his desire to assist the Raiders with the mental and physical aspects of the game. The squad’s work begins in the weight room, but it does not stop there.

“There are just a lot of teams with a lot of talent,” Songer said. “Schedule-wise, we’re playing these teams almost every week. We might take some lumps during the season, but I really think it prepares you for tournament time to face teams not in this area. I’ve told the girls all year long, ‘We will have a challenging schedule, but it’s only going to prepare us for tournament time.’ ”

Songer is learning the ropes of his new position, but he has worked with the Raiders since their middle school days. The prior rapport has helped him adjust to his current reality.

“It’s really hard for me to describe that I’m going to get the opportunity to be the head coach out at the softball field this year,” Songer said. “I just hope I live up to expectations and I can do the job that some people think I can do. I’m flattered to be able to get the opportunity.”

Indeed, the opportunity knocks. Southridge will play a 6 p.m game against Bedford North Lawrence on Monday. 

“I’ve got a really good group of girls who like to work really hard,” Songer said. “I’ve been around them for a long time. They’re a bunch of little bulldogs. They’re going to fight every game. I just look forward to watching them play this year.”

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