The good news for the Sacred Hearts softball team is that they get to battle many of the state’s top teams this spring.
Bad news? Coach Keicha Kekuewa believes there are none, even after losing the 2020 season to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This season we have gotten back all but two players. Due to COVID, one of our players are unable to participate due to underlying health issues,” Kekuewa said. “This was a high concern for our numbers.”
Then, a blessing from above.
“With Pac-Five opting out, we were fortunate enough to open our doors to their girls. We ended up receiving eight players from Pac-Five and combined them with the 11 from Sacred Hearts. We now have a bigger and more competitive team,” Kekuewa said. “I have high hopes for this season regardless of the circumstances that surround us.”
The hurdles are many for a softball program without a field on campus.
“Sacred Hearts is not unfamiliar to adversity. Throughout its history, coaches have learned to push through our comfort zones and make the most of what we have. Our season has been difficult because of state restrictions on public parks. Our coaching staff and athletic director, Ryan Hogue, are working as hard as we can to prepare the girls,” Kekuewa said. “We share space and time with other athletic programs on campus and try to keep our athletes positive. From conditioning for this upcoming season, creativity from the entire coaching staff was essential in creating workouts and practice plans.”
The limited and brief preseason meant little to no games and scrimmages for ILH teams.
“Mental health has been an important topic leading up to our season. Our coaching staff made constant efforts to ensure that our athletes’ minds are just as prepared as their bodies. Now with the season underway, it is a huge relief for our athletes,” Kekuewa said. “Not only does it give them an outlet, but it also builds hope that we can get back to a more normal way of life.”
Sacred Hearts opens the season on Wednesday afternoon at Mid-Pacific. Game time is 4 p.m. No spectators will be permitted.