In the east, it’s West Fargo. In the west, it’s Bismarck or Dickinson that may be the dominant programs in softball. But one that’s always overlooked is Century, a team that believed that this spring could’ve put them in the conversation.
Finishing in fourth last season is no small feat for the Patriots, but Century has always wanted more, a team returning what would’ve been a lethal pitching rotation in 2020.
“So that’s always a big thing when you talk about fastpitch softball,” said head coach Kevin Zeigler. “Because pitching is a strength. We also, consider ourselves well-rounded.”
Zeigler has led a team that scored double digits in 16 games last season, but it’s getting over the hump, winning the big game that has eluded Century.
“That’s one thing that I think about all the time because we’ve been so close, so close, all the time,” Zeigler said. “And it’s always slipped through our fingers. Something happens where we get a bad bounce here or there. The right play doesn’t come up.”
“A lot last year, we were our own enemy,” said senior Maddie Grad. “And we beat ourselves a lot and, come to think of it, the games that we lost against West Fargo, it was just little miscommunications that kind of got us.”
The Patriots were only three outs away from a shot at a title, something that will always linger for these seniors who just want to put their program and coach on top.
“You know, we want to do it for our coach,” senior Grace Meschke said. “He’s never won it, and we think he deserves it. He and the rest of the coaching staff have been our biggest supporters.”
For now, and possibly forever, Century will always look at 2020 as a ‘what if’.
“To come back full strength this year and take our shot,” said Zeigler. “Because if any year that we definitely had a shot to do it, it was this year.”
Zeigler has led Century to seven of the last nine state tournaments.