Griz Softball Begins Practice

By SAM WALDORF for GoGriz.com

The Montana Griz softball team had its first practice of the spring Monday, Jan. 12. Montana went 7-1 in its inaugural fall season, winning its last seven games in a row.

After the fall season ended, Head coach Jamie Pinkerton said the team worked with condition coach Charlie Woida and his staff five days a week in order to get stronger and strengthen certain areas.

“It helped make us more explosive, quicker and faster,” Pinkerton said. “And off season training also helps prevent injury.”

In addition to working on strength and condition, the team also focused on the details of the game.

Jamie Pinkerton

UM Head Softball Coach, Jamie Pinkerton. Photo courtesy of the University ofMontana

“If we work on the little things now, we won’t make those mistakes in the games,” said Madeline Merritt, who made the roster in the open tryouts held last spring. “Those little things can be the difference between a win or a loss.”

Pinkerton said he hasn’t been in a situation where he had to practice in a gym since his 1995 season as a coach at Tulsa, but that his only option with the current Montana weather.

“It’s not live, but you can make it live as possible,” Pinkerton said. “Obviously there are parts of the game you can’t recreate.”

“We will go back to square-one, like we did in the fall. We will go over our system and basically start over, it’s like we are starting another season.”

Pinkerton said over the next three weeks, before Montana’s first games in February, he will basically be implementing things for the rest of the season.

Kenzie Cole, one of Montana’s pitchers, said as a team they need to work together better, but it is apparent everyone worked very hard over the break.

“We need to communicate better on the field,” said Cole, a transfer from Boise State. “Letting each other know where the next play is and also making sure every rep is as close to perfect as possible.”

Cole said she hasn’t practiced in a gym since she was a kid, growing up in Northern Nevada.

“It is definitely creating some adversity that we will have to overcome,” Cole said. “I know for the defense it’s difficult not being able to take ground balls.”

Carli Riordan, one of Montana’s pitchers, said she has been working on her form to become stronger.

“It helps keep everything in control,” Riordan said. “I think if I know the strength in my body then I’ll know if there is ever anything going wrong during a game I can fix it right there just by seeing what my body is or isn’t doing.”

Pinkerton said the team will try to practice in Washington-Grizzly Stadium, if the weather allows it.

“It is going to be on our staff to keep it fresh,” Pinkerton said. “But it is good to have the team back on campus, and start getting them ready for the season.”

Montana’s first game will be on Feb. 5, at the Hotel Encanto Classic., held in Las Cruces, N.M. The Griz will take on New Mexico State.