SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — This spring marks the first season for softball as a high school sanctioned sport.

South Dakota is now one of 46 states to offer softball as a sanctioned high school sport. 53 schools are scheduled to suit up, including O’Gorman. The Knights have just 18 players in their first season, but they’re hoping the sport will grow in popularity.

“I hope it encourages more younger girls to play because we kind of have limited numbers, but I’m really excited that it’s getting recognized,” O’Gorman junior Ava Tobin said.

“I think it’ll definitely bring in some awareness,” O’Gorman senior Kira Mentele said. “Like ‘hey, softball is here. We’re here to stay and definitely have fun with it.”

“Having them be able to be recognized by the state at a varsity level, get that varsity experience with this sport, to me, that’s like the most exciting part,” O’Gorman head coach Ryan Soukup said.

The players have traditionally played club softball in the fall, but now with the high school season in the spring, they will have to adjust to different weather as there is still snow on the ground throughout the state and they have yet to practice outside.

“The weather’s going to be a little different too,” Tobin said. “I’m kind of nervous about how that might affect the fields and stuff but hopefully we can adapt and play our best either way.”

While the Knights have had their first couple of games postponed, they’re looking forward to whatever games they do get out of their first season.

“It’s a little disappointing because you’re kind of ready, you’re like hey, let’s go. We have a game. Let’s go,” Mentele said. “And then it’s like OK, well now we have more preparation time and we can get ready and be ready for when our games are.”

“We’ll just end up playing a few more doubleheaders when we actually do get nice weather and if that means that we head into postseason play with 20 games or 14 games or 10 games, it’ll be what it is, but we just know that everybody else is in the same boat,” Soukup said.

O’Gorman is scheduled to play Tuesday, April 4 against Harrisburg, but coach Soukup is expecting that game to be postponed. They’re hoping to play the following week in Pierre.