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The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.

Westside Wired

The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.

Westside Wired

The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.

Westside Wired

Softball team strikes records in historic season

Cece Gerard

The Westside softball team has broken three records so far in this 2023 season. They are wrapping up their season with 19 wins, breaking the home run record with 36 and are ranked in the top 10 for the first time in 12 years. 

Senior Kaidence Dumas is currently tied for the school homerun record with 10 hits over the fence. Dumas has to be mentally and physically tough to be able to compete at a high level. 

“Practicing and going to the gym everyday really helps, I think also focusing on mechanics and breathing before I get up to the plate,” Dumas said. 

Sophomore Baylee Heffernan has also hit eight home runs over the fence including two grand slams. 

“Focusing on the words I’m saying to myself is really important, I also have a red bull before every game just for extra energy,” Heffernan said. 

The expectations for the end of the season are high. Both players and Coach Mike Leaply are reaching for success 

“We set goals from the start of the season. The team knows them and we will keep that in-house,” Leaply said. 

Dumas’s senior season is coming to an end and she wants to end it with a bang. 

“This has been the best season we’ve had since I’ve been in the Westside Softball program,” Dumas said. “We should host a district and win our district, I want to battle with Gretna.” 

Sophomore shortstop Emma Kauffman agrees.

“Considering Westside softball hasn’t been to this point yet… there is alot to come in the future,” Kauffman said. I really want to go to state, and I think we have the people and talent to do it.”

Motivation for many softball players comes from parents, coaches and most importantly teammates.  Hadley Hansen is most motivated by her teammates.

“I’m playing for my teammates, and I think they are playing for me,” Hansen said “But I’m also motivated to do it for the softball program, I want to prove that we are winners.”

Freshman Kalista Rich also has motivation for this highschool season, and college.  

“I get my motivation from wantingness to succeed, the want to go far and play in college at a higher level,” Rich said.

Tiny parts of the program have changed since last season, from a new coach and many seniors leaving. Mike Leaply has taken over after TJ Eadus has moved to coach at Briar Cliff University. 

“At first, it was a little different as it still is.  TJ and I have been coaching for 8 years together. I’ve taken bits and pieces of her coaching philosophy and added some things,” Leaply said. “The foundation is set. The underclassman knows what is expected. We have leaders on this team from the top down. I’m not worried about next year.”

Being ranked in the top ten means every team is coming for their spot. Players have to prepare mentally and physically before every game. 

“Physically I’m always in the weight room, and mentally I try to stay cool, calm, and collected,” Hansen said 

Kauffman thinks that the season is going well, and knows she plays a huge part of the team. 

“I think the team needs someone that doesn’t get in their head a lot and stays positive, and I think that is me,” Kauffman said 

Leaply is positive the next games and the postseason will go well. 

 “Our team knows it and takes it all in when we meet and talk about who we are going to face that day or night,”

The softball team plays their last regular season games against Gretna on Sept. 27. and Omaha Central on Oct. 2.


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About the Contributor
Cece Gerard
Cece Gerard, Sports J Photographer
Hi, my name is CeCe Gerard! I'm a sports photography Editor for Sports Journalism and a writer this year. I'm a Senior and this is my third year in Sports Journalism. My Favorite foods are ice cream and really good soft pretzels. I also have a dog named Walter. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at [email protected] and view my portfolio at cecegerardphotography.com
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