Whitefish High School has canceled its 2019 softball season, citing insufficient student participation. The softball team is expected to return to play in 2020.
The Bulldogs were scheduled to begin their season on April 2, but in the week-plus after the spring sports season officially began on March 11 only six student-athletes were practicing with the team, well short of the nine needed to field a starting lineup, let alone any substitutes. The decision to cancel the season was made on March 22, the day before spring break began, and the school notified its opponents of the decision.
Whitefish had been facing low turnout for softball in recent seasons and played only varsity games each of the last two years because of dwindling numbers. Still, Whitefish Activities Director Aric Harris had hoped participation would be sufficient to play a varsity-only schedule again this spring, even with a new coach, Hannah Pomeroy, taking over the program.
“We were hoping for about a dozen (students),” Harris said. “It was a little bit of a letdown for me as the (activities director) and Hannah as the coach that we only had six show up, but we’re going to start tapping into some youth camps and we’ll continue our fundraising efforts.”
Pomeroy brings an impressive resume to the head coaching position, and she remains in the position despite not having a team to coach this spring, instead focusing on a growing youth softball program in Whitefish and putting the foundation in place for 2020. Pomeroy was an assistant coach at the University of North Dakota last season and both played and coached at Western Oregon University.
Whitefish softball competes in the Northwest A conference along with Browning, Columbia Falls, Libby, Polson and Ronan. The Bulldogs have not reached the Class A state tournament since 2010.
Whitefish also offers tennis and track for female athletes during the spring season, and Harris said many of the six Bulldogs softball players have migrated to the track and field program.