Whitefish High School will not field a softball team this spring.
The Whitefish School District canceled the 2019 season March 22 after only six players came out for the sport.
Activities Director Aric Harris says none of the six girls who went out for the team were seniors, and several have instead joined other spring sports like track.
Nonetheless, he said it’s a letdown to cancel the season.
“It’s disappointing. It’s disappointing for me to not be able to field a team and hold up our obligation as a Class A school in the Northwest conference because the other five schools in our conference were relying on us for two games, and now we can’t provide those for them. It’s a letdown.”
The team had just hired a new head coach, Hannah Pomeroy, and was looking to get out of a slump of consecutive losing seasons.
“Hannah has taken it really well, she’s very positive and upbeat and is eager to really work with the girls that she has and continue to build a foundation,” Harris said.
The team’s season opener would have been Tuesday at Ronan.
Harris said moving forward, the hope is to get enough girls interested in the program to at least field a junior varsity team next year. If there are enough mature players, he said, the conversation with the Montana High School Sports Association will look into reinstating the varsity team.
Regardless, Harris said he hopes a new effort to rebuild the program gets started as a result.
Softball at WHS is one of a few sports that are not funded by the district and instead rely on donations.
That might need to change moving forward.
“I think a big part of our issue with the current situation is it feels like it’s not attached to the program because the district does not provide funding for the program,” Harris said. “It’s all fundraised money, usually through parent efforts that keep the program alive. I think that’s something that we need to realistically look at and evaluate — is this something that the district should take on if we’re going to be offering it as a Class A school?”