When Rusty Brummett and Robyn Coffer took over the Columbus East and Columbus North softball programs this season, they likely didn’t expect to be in as much of a struggle as they’ve endured.
When their teams square off today at East, both will be searching for a much-needed victory. Both picked up their first wins of the season Saturday.
“I feel real good about the progress that we’ve made,” Brummett said. “It’s always good to get a win and then take that momentum and try to build on it. The season obviously is a little bit disappointing. We’d like to have a better record, but we want to be hitting on all cylinders and playing our best when sectional comes around.”
Brummett and Coffer aren’t the only new softball coaches in the area. Seven of the 10 schools The Republic covers had a coaching change in the offseason.
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“It definitely has peaks and valleys, but you can’t forget the passion of why you do it and why you even wanted the position,” Coffer said. “High points, low points — you just have to keep working through them.”
The Bull Dogs started 0-6 before downing Brown County 5-1 Saturday in the consolation game of the Brown County Invitational. The Eagles, who are 2-5, also have a new coach in Kevin Greve.
“There’s definite progress,” Coffer said. “It’s never going to be perfect, but we’re still working, and as long as we’re getting better, that’s all I can ask for.
“I think the girls have done what they could,” she said. “They’ve fought and continued to put some things together. Obviously, there’s a ways to go, but they’re working at it.”
The Olympians, meanwhile, lost their first seven games before pulling out a 4-3 victory in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader against Bloomington South.
“Playing Columbus North is going to be a lot of fun,” Brummett said. The girls know each other. I’m looking forward to a competitive ballgame.”
Not all of the new area coaches have struggled in their first seasons with their teams. Steve Vanosdol, who spent 14 years as an assistant at Jennings County, has picked up right where Kendall Wildey left off. Vanosdol has the Panthers off to an 8-3 start.
“We’ve tried to build it up like a program to where if we have a good class coming through, we can compete for a state championship,” Vanosdol said. “We don’t want to have that dropoff. We expect to win 20 games a year.
“We start conditioning in November,” he said. “The kids are all proud of their softball and once one group is out, the next one comes in wanting to see what they can do.”
What: Columbus East vs. Columbus North softball
When: 5 p.m. today
Where: Columbus East High School
Seven of the 10 area softball teams have new coaches this season. Only Hauser’s Craig Sims, Seymour’s Brian Personett and South Decatur’s Lisa Huff remain from last season. A look at the others:
School;New coach;Old coach
Brown County;Kevin Greve;Ron McDonald
Columbus Christian;Chris Robinson;Mackenzie Wingham
Columbus East;Rusty Brummett;Sonny Stahl
Columbus North;Robyn Coffer;Jerry Burton
Edinburgh;Stephen Clark;Autumn Humbaugh
Jennings County;Steve Vanosdol;Kendall Wildey
Trinity Lutheran;Chad Goecker;Tom Barker