The Phenix U10 team at the Phenix Spring Classic: third.
Playing in Basehor last week at league: second.
Competing in the Best of Kansas City: first.
A coach who built his own ball field in the country so the team can always practice: priceless.
The Phenix U10 team doesn't do this well just by showing up every now and then to practice. The girls are dedicated to the sport and to their coach.
And in return coach Dane Jorgensen is just as dedicated to his players.
"Each girl has improved drastically with great practice on the fundamentals," Team representative Betsy Kelly said. "More importantly from the excellent encouragement from the coaches, especially our head coach."
The 12-girl team typically practices on Sundays year round and at least once a week during the summer. Jorgensen was concerned with always finding a field to reserve so he decided to build his own along with three other coaches.
"Together they [the coaches] created an environment that enriched each girl's skills and knowledge of the game in a very positive, nurturing way," Kelly said. "No one complained, felt left out, or was belittled. Instead they were made to feel that they were an important, intricate part of the team, and consequently, they improved so much and had a super time working at it."
Improve is what Jorgensen wants to see his players do.
"My favorite moment is watching someone who struggles with something get better," he said.
Jorgensen used one of his players as an example. He saw someone who wasn't a very good hitter to begin with, develop that skill throughout the season. Last Thursday at league, the girl hit the ball twice and everyone was excited for her.
"It's wonderful watching them get better," Jorgensen said.
All the players get the chance to improve at every position. Dale Enick, a parent, said Jorgensen really gives the girls an opportunity to try different positions.
"Every girl got to pitch at least once and that doesn't happen very often on a team," Enick said.
Many of the other parents are impressed with the coaching staff, they send e-mails just to let the coaches know the parents support them. Enick was one of them, who wrote an e-mail last week.
"I just wanted to thank them for their efforts," he said. "I've never been around a coaching staff that was so positive. There was no negativity. My daughter had such a good experience on this team."
Jorgensen makes sure every girl feels included by developing their skills.
"Every girl has the chance to play and every girl has a role," he said. "By each one knowing they have a role, they really feel they are contributing to the team. Every girl is going to play in every game."
Coaching the girls at a young age is something Jorgensen finds beneficial for them. He said sometimes athletes who are starting out in junior high develop bad habits, which can be hard to break.
"When they're young, they haven't, what I like to call for a hitter, 'grooved' their swing yet," Jorgnesen said. "It doesn't take a year to change the bad habits, it takes a month maybe when they're that young."
And with a coach like Jorgensen it could take less.
"He's truly a gem for the girls and the Phenix organization," Kelly said.