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Tom Mix, Published March 29 2012

Central Cass softball feeling more at home in Class B

Casselton, N.D. - Entering its fourth season as a fastpitch softball program, Central Cass has rarely had the edge on the ball field when it comes to experience.

This season is a whole new ballgame, as the Squirrels will be competing in the newly formed North Dakota Class B division of fastpitch softball. There are 14 teams split into two regions that will play in their own state championship tournament.

Central Cass will now be playing primarily a Class B schedule during the regular season. The Squirrels host Hillsboro at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to open the season.

Gone are the days of playing larger Class A teams with many more seasons of fastpitch under their belts.

“I’m thrilled about it,” second-year Central Cass softball coach Scott Kost said of the Class B division. “This is just the start. I think you will continue to see the sport of fastpitch softball grow across the state of North Dakota and part of that has to do with there now being a Class B state tournament for teams to shoot for.”

Central Cass is in the southern region that is made up of Enderlin-Maple Valley, Hankinson, Hillsboro-Central Valley, Kindred-Richland, May-Port-CG and Northern Cass.

The Squirrels suddenly find themselves as one of the more experienced teams in the region, in which four of the teams are playing their first seasons as programs.

“Ever since we started playing fastpitch, we began every season with the expectation we would have a good year, but there is definitely people who believe that a little bit more this year,” Kost said. “Our expectations are a little bit higher now playing in Class B.”

Central Cass has come a long way considering it was strictly playing slowpitch softball in the summer not that long ago. The team is comprised of 24 girls.

“We’re pretty excited,” senior left fielder Haley Weber said. “This year is going to be more fun. We think we can go a long ways this year.”

Weber and senior infielder Bethany Voss have played on the fastpitch team all four years of its existence and before that played on Casselton’s summer slowpitch league team.

Weber said the transition was slow at the start, but also said the team has improved in all aspects of the game. The Squirrels were 4-7 last year.

“Playing all the Class A teams last year will help us coming into this year,” Voss said. “It was a good experience for us. We expect to be on the upper end, because now there are other teams who are in their first years so I think our experience will help us.”

Pitching has been one of the larger learning curves for the Squirrels. There were a lot of walks and slow games in the early years of the fastpitch program, but Kost said he knew that would take time. Junior Morgan Titus and freshman Sierra Amundson will handle the pitching duties for the Squirrels.

“Our kids’ knowledge of the game is getting better,” Kost said. “I’m excited to get the season going and see how we stack up in the new region.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562

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