After losing out on last year, GHS girls softball looks to take back their season


Geneva junior Bre Venditti getting ready to field a ground ball on April 19. Picture courtesy of Bre Venditti / Jacob Bartelson, Shaw Media

It’s 2019, and fans are cheering as the Geneva High School softball team is competing for their very first sectional championship. The game is tight, 1-0 in the eleventh inning, and all Geneva needs is three outs.

With each pitch, as the excitement builds, the players continue cheering as loud as they can. One out, two outs, and then, the third out is hit, a popup to center field. The crowd explodes in excitement as the Geneva girls’ softball team makes school history.

Now jumping to 2020, a widespread pandemic hits, and all high school spring sports are canceled. The excitement of what the season could have been for the girls is ruined, and disappointment strikes the seniors as they realize they will never touch the high school field again.

Looking ahead to 2021, many questions surround the high school softball season. Will players be required to wear masks at all times, and will parents be allowed to watch their children play? Some questions are still up in the air, but as of right now, the following guidelines have been set.

“At this time 50 home spectators only. But guidelines continue to change,” Geneva High School Athletic Director Mr. Carli said.

Although the IHSA has confirmed that there will be a high school softball season, there will not be nearly as many games played by the conclusion of the season.

“In the beginning, there was some discussion that we would only play our conference teams or there wouldn’t be a state series. Now, well as of right now, we are going to do normal conference games. So, we see each opponent twice, and we are trying to get non-conference games early in the season,” Head Coach of the Geneva High School varsity softball team Coach Plackett said.

“I think we have four right now, and I am trying for one more. In a normal season, I try to play our max games. So, if we are allowed to play 35 games, we are playing 35 games. That is not going to happen this year,” Coach Plackett added.

Despite the guidelines set in place, seniors are hoping for any last chance at playing with the friends they have grown close with over the past three years. The number of games is not as significant as just being able to play.

“The best part on playing high school softball has definitely been being able to play with some of my best friends and playing with players at all different grade levels. I have loved meeting new people throughout high school softball, and I cannot wait to see what this season has in take,” Geneva High School senior softball player Bella Walton said.

“I am so excited for this year’s season! I have always looked forward to high school softball season as I get to meet new people and play my travel teammates from different schools. Last year I was devastated to not have a season and this season I cannot wait to make the most of it,” Walton added.

Not only are the high school softball players elated to have a season, but so are the coaches.

“I think excited is an understatement. Last year was really tough when I had to make the calls to the five seniors and let them know. I let them know first that we were not going to have a season. That was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do,” Coach Plackett said.

In the fall, there was conversation of softball players being allowed to participate in travel ball and high school ball at the same time. This schedule would work by playing high school softball during the weekdays and travel softball on the weekends.

With the release of Covid-19 vaccines and the number of cases dropping each day, the high school season is now scheduled to start on April 5th. Since the start date is close to what it has been in past years, and the season is planned to be shortened, simultaneously playing high school softball and travel softball is no longer allowed.

“Students have 7 days to discontinue activities with their non-school teams after their first engagement in a try-out, practice or competition with their high school team. All traditional spring sports participants will be permitted to engage in activities with their non-school teams at the conclusion of their season or on June 4, 2021,” Mr. Carli said.

Additionally, the high school softball season plays an important role, not only in maintaining players’ physical health, but also in keeping their mental health stable.

“Going to school is so much more than just going to class. I know that people are like academics all the way, but there are so many more things. Being able to return to play, I think does so much for your mental psyche that people do not even realize,” Coach Plackett said.

“Sometimes people come to school so that they can play sports. And they maintain their eligibility so they can play sports. I think we were missing that in the first half of the year for sure. For a lot of kids, there was no light at the end of the tunnel, and so they just hit a wall and gave up,” Coach Plackett added.

The softball season may look different, but the girls and coaches are just eager to get out on the field again. Last year they had a lot taken from them, but this year is their time to take something back.

The Geneva High School softball team is back in action now, so make sure to catch one of this history-making team’s games.