MISSOULA — Baseball is in Trevor Subith’s blood, but he’s transitioning to a different type of diamond as the Missoula Big Sky softball coach.
One thing that doesn’t change between sports is his desire to win. He’s embracing the tall task ahead of him as he tries to resurrect and revive a Big Sky program that’s struggled the past few years as it has fallen from its perch as the premier Class AA softball team in Missoula.
“Any time I’ve taken over a program, the ultimate goal is to hang a banner and be state champions or regional champions. Whatever the biggest prize, that’s the ultimate goal,” Subith said. “I’ve never shied away from anything like that.
“This is going to be a true test because this program has been really bad for a couple years, not to say that in a bad way, but it’s been at the bottom of the state. To bring it back up is going to take a lot of work, but the girls want to do it, and they’re working hard.”
Subith has nearly two decades of coaching experience, although it’s been exclusively in baseball. A former Tennessee Wesleyan player, he does have quite a few connections in the softball world and has picked their brains to help ease his transition.
Subith has gotten insight from Memphis Tigers pitching coach Helen Pena, former Tennessee Volunteers player Erinn Webb and University of Saint Katherine head coach Jessica Beaver, all of whom went to the same high school where he played and coached, Hemet High School in southern California. He’s also learned from longtime Hemet softball coach Jeff Galloway.
Subith was even able to have former Frenchtown all-stater Morgan Ray help with his pitchers at several practices as she shared what she learned as a pitcher at Ohio State. He also has former Big Sky player Crissina Quinn on his staff, as well as Rees LeSoine, who played at Southern Vermont College after he played for Subith in American Legion baseball.
“Just studying the game, being a student of the game is cool because with baseball I knew the route, but softball I’ve got to switch,” Subith said. “I’ve learned pitching is the No. 1 thing. You don’t need a staff, just one to two girls and you can be dominant. The speed of the game is so evident and how tight everything is with like how close girls play at the corners.”
Subith took the plunge into high school softball coaching because he said he wanted to get back to being a head coach after being an assistant the past three years and because he’s looking to get into teaching after being self-employed. He said he’ll begin student teaching history at Big Sky in the fall and is hoping to be a full-time teacher by the spring 2022 semester.
“This was more of a family decision and a life decision,” Subith said. “Just missed being a head coach, and this will be a better life for our family with some stability with me teaching.”
Big Sky will be a young team with only three players who have varsity experience. They are senior pitcher Makenna Hewitt, junior first baseman Ava McPhillips, and junior third baseman and outfielder Kaysen Brown. Two of the three sophomores, Breanna Hewitt and Jordan Whitmire, have experience as travel softball players, Subith noted.
The rest of the 16-player roster contains 10 freshmen. They’ll have just one team this year, but Subith hopes another influx of freshmen next year will allow them to field a junior varsity team.
He’ll be sticking with the same small ball style of play that helped him go 234-115 as the Hemet coach and 67-38 as the Bitterroot Bucs coach as his team was a State A runner-up. He most recently worked under manager Brent Hathaway with the Missoula Mavs.
“We’re going to small ball teams to death,” Subith said. “You do those things, no matter whether it’s baseball or softball, you’ll be successful. It’s always worked at any level I’ve been at. It’s a recipe for winning if you could do those things consistently.”
Big Sky will open its season April 9 in Billings and play its first nine games on the road. The Eagles will play eight of their final 11 games at home starting April 22 as they chase their first state tournament berth since 2017.
“The school really wants to win,” Subith said of the program that won state titles in 2005 and 2006 and was the state runner-up in 2014 and 2015. “I think Big Sky is really putting all their chips in the basket to try to get back to winning.”
Frank Gogola covers Griz football and prep sports for the Missoulian. Follow him on Twitter @FrankGogola or email him at email@example.com.