Denver softball builds on adversity
By Micah Knebel

Adversity shaped much the of the Cyclone softball team’s season, but, head coach Dani Gordon reflected, that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“It was in that moment of adversity that our goals changed and our focus shifted,” she recalled. “What started off as focusing on winning games and our record quickly changed to focusing on the bigger picture, that is getting better as individuals and honing in on skills, becoming more knowledgeable about the game of softball, learning to play for each other, and having fun.”

Some of the team’s most memorable moments weren’t about the outcome of the game. “There were nights spent together as a team,” Coach Gordon said, “building relationships and growing closer as individuals. Other memorable season moments for me as a coach include watching the girls respond to adversity and never losing fight during in games: they battle. There is something admirable about individuals and teams with that capacity.”

Some of biggest season moments for her were seeing athletes achieve goals like outfielders making diving catches, shortstops turning double plays, and first career home runs. “They reaped the reward of their work and dedication,” she said.

Marissa Stock was the team’s only senior this year. The five-year varsity letter winner was nominated by her team as one of their captains. She is a two-time First Team All-Conference selection, a two-time All-District selection, and received Honorable Mention for All-State. Stock also received Academic All-Conference. In her senior season, she broke Denver’s single season doubles record. “Her accolades are impressive,” Gordon said, “and she earned every one of them through hard work, commitment, and mental toughness.” Stock will continue her academic and softball career at Luther College.

Coach Gordon sees a lot of promise in her younger athletes as well. “It’s worth noting that up and down our lineup you will find leaders from all grades and all levels of talent,” she said. “It’s exciting as a coach to have a robust group of athletes. Our young team is growing, and I’m excited to see where the girls carry the program. The drive, dedication, and excitement is there. They are a fun group to coach, and I look forward to their success as individuals and as a team.”
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