Solon– First-year head coach Ben Sorden has the Lady Spartans ready to compete.
Sorden came to Solon after completing the 2010 softball season as the top assistant and pitching coach at South Mountain Community College (SMCC) in Phoenix, Ariz. During his stay at SMCC, the team won the Region 1 tournament and finished ninth in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Championships, marking the first time in school history that the softball team won the Regional and advanced.
Prior to SMCC, Sorden was a student assistant for three years at Buena Vista College under NFCA Hall of Fame Head Coach Marge Willadsen. During his three years at Buena Vista, the softball team went to the NCAA DIII Regional and reached the NCAA DIII National Championship Tournament in 1994. During his tenure, the Buena Vista softball team had six All-American players, including two All-American pitchers.
After graduating from the institution in 1995, Sorden moved to Cedar Rapids where he eventually landed a coaching job at a local high school.
“One of my colleagues had a daughter playing on a local ASA travel team and asked if I would help out. Most of the girls fed into Cedar Rapids Kennedy,” he said. “The next year Kennedy hired a new coach fresh out of college who was a little overwhelmed.” To make matters worse the varsity assistant died of a tragic heart attack the day of the first game. Again, Sorden was asked if he could help out. “Knowing most of the girls I volunteered my time and was later named assistant coach at Kennedy.”
Sorden was the assistant coach from 1997-1999. In 1999, Cedar Rapids Kennedy won the Regional tournament and advanced to the state championship tournament.
In 2002, Sorden became the pitching coach at Coe College where he remained for eight seasons, working with Head Coach Bob Thomas, who is currently ranked third all-time in wins for NCAA DIII. During Sorden’s time at Coe College, the team was twice conference champions and advanced to the NCAA Regional six out of Sorden’s eight years on staff. In 2006, Coe reached the NCAA DIII Women’s College World Series, where they placed fifth, and were national runner-up in 2009. At Coe, Sorden coached six All-Region pitchers and two All-American pitchers, both of whom were named Conference Pitcher of the Year.
Sorden has also taken the time to compete in men’s fast pitch softball as a pitcher for the last 13 years, playing in many state and regional tournaments.
“My playing experience has helped me tremendously as a coach to understand the mental side of pitching as well as the psychology of the sport,” Sorden said.
Sorden is excited for his most recent venture as the new Head Softball Coach at Solon High School.
“I and my assistants, former Hawkeye Rachel West and current Kohawk (Coe College) Amanda Hanson, are extremely excited to work with a great bunch of young athletes in a supportive community. Solon loves their sports and they love winning, but more importantly they understand the value of hard work,” he said.
With a talent-packed 2011 Solon softball team, Coach Sorden looks to be competitive and make an impact in his first year as Head Coach.
“The team has set a number of goals for this year, but personally I want us to compete in every game, get better each week and have some fun along the way,” he said. “Keeping a positive attitude and working as a team is going to be paramount to the success of this program. We have the talent, but bringing it all together is what counts come tournament time.”