WHEATLAND – Softball is now an officially recognized high school sport in Wyoming and next season will bring the inaugural opening with “PLAY BALL” being echoed around diamonds around the state. The theme just might be, “diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”
The girls of Wheatland are business as usual in the younger ranks as practice for their respective youth leagues have been ongoing for the past three weeks.
Travis Lockman sixth-year coach who manages the 14 and under team and Courtney Sisson who is in her fifth year of coaching, coaches the 12 and under team and both are hopeful that a schedule of games including double headers and tournaments will be decided upon soon.
“We hope to have some competition,” Lockman said. “On June 1 the State of Wyoming softball will come out with a final ruling on if there’s a state tournament. We’re waiting on that, and it sounds like we may play in Scotts Bluff, and other than that we are just trying to make due, bringing some teams in, work with the 12-year-old girls and my 14-year-old girls and maybe mix and scrimmage.”
The regulations that Lockman and Sisson are following are the same guidelines that the American Legion league follows.
“I was watching the legion game last night and they were using their dugouts,” Lockman said. “But really, we have followed whatever public health has dictated. Our public health in Platte County has said, ‘whatever the state says, it’s what we’re doing.”
He also mentioned that with Gov. Mark Gordon’s directive to allow 250 in outdoor events, the regulations may change for all sports teams in Wyoming.
“Actually, we used the legion document, and we got our guidelines from that,” Sisson said. “We are not having our girls sanitize their equipment because they are the only ones touching it. But everyone has their own bat, their own helmet and their own glove. We do sanitize balls after practice and we do provide sanitizer.”
The season will feature a lot of softball and both coaches are working on scheduling that will bring quality time on the field.
“I know that we’re going to start working with Casper, Douglas, Torrington, Cheyenne and see if we just can’t get some double-headers put together,” Sisson said. “Because with baseball right now, I think they’re requiring umpires to wear masks and it seems as though the softball guidelines are kind of dictated by what baseball is doing. I’ve heard that a lot of the umpires are not wanting to wear the masks so we might just have some scrimmages without umpires.”
Upcoming tournaments that the teams hope to play in are Scotts Bluff, State and Gillette. Both coaches are excited about the upcoming seasons.
“Last year we won state,” Lockman said. “Last year my team was 12 and under. We are now bumping up a division and age level, but we’re excited for the opportunity and the challenge.”
Sisson who has moved into that coaching position of the 12 and under team also mentioned that she’s ready for the competition to begin.
Sisson and Lockman also credit their successes on the field to their coaches. Lockman’s co-coach is Scott Aurich and Sisson has Haley Robertson and Sisson’s husband Derek also helps out.