Editor’s note: Hanna Roltgen will be a senior at Cedar Rapids Prairie in the fall. She is doing an internship at The Gazette this summer through Kirkwood’s Workplace Learning Connections.
CEDAR RAPIDS — Joe Yegge never intended to be a softball coach.
“I was at the wrong place at the right time,” he said after Cedar Rapids Prairie won its first game at its owns softball tournament last weekend.
Yegge is head softball coach at Kirkwood Community College and Prairie High School.
“I was actually a football coach and they needed a softball coach at the college I was at, so that’s how I got into it,” he said.
Prairie is chasing another state berth this season following its fifth-place finish at last year’s tournament in Fort Dodge.
“I think it’s something we can do,” Yegge said. “We have the same pitcher back and some of our nucleus from last year.”
There are seven seniors and juniors listed on the roster, and 11 underclassmen.
“Our biggest challenge is youth,” Yegge said. “On any given day we might only have one senior on the field.”
Yegge’s coaching style is what sets him apart from other coaches in the area. He describes himself as “old school and aggressive” and said his philosophy doesn’t change much between Kirkwood and Prairie.
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“That’s probably a little bit different than people would think,” he said. “I suppose I tone it down a little bit here at Prairie.”
What he hopes players take away from his programs is quite simple.
“I hope they learn from what we are doing here on the softball field and apply it to life,” he said. “Not everything’s fair; not everything is roses and butterflies.
“My goal is for them to work hard and to teach them life skills, really.”