Last year, the softball team, the Lady Panthers, advanced to the state championships, where they placed third in the District 4 division, setting a high precedent for the 2019 team. While the 2018 team left big shoes to fill, the 2019 team succeeded in accomplishing them with their second place victory at the state championships.
As a returning varsity player, senior Kerstyn Finch, who advanced to state with the team last year, says the experience helped prepare the team for their success this year.
“I believed our team would be very successful if we played loose and had fun. Also, last year we were so successful because of our team chemistry and I believe that carried on to this year, because we had 7 returning starters,” said Finch.
Having seen the girls practice throughout the season, head coach Jim Brown acknowledges the hard work the players put into the season to make it to the state championships.
“We were able to produce runs up and down the line up. We had great pitching all year too,” said Brown.
While many of the players aspired to go to state, they tried to focus on their present games. For Finch, the possibility of going to state again motivated her to succeed this season.
“I was so excited. I knew we had a chance to go back to state at the beginning of the year, but it was still so exciting when everything became a real possibility. I remember trying to not look ahead too far and just trying to focus on one game at a time, but deep down I had a feeling we would go far,” said Finch.
Many players on the team were happy to make it to state again, but it was hard for some to finish the state championship game with a loss.
“I was still happy to be on the field with the team, but I was kind of sad when the game started to end,” said Law.
Although the team was strong throughout the season, junior Brooke Law recognizes their struggle to continue to be positive during the championship game.
“When we were down in the game, sometimes we just shut down,” said Law.
Despite barely missing the first place medal, Brown is proud of this year’s team’s positivity and hard work that the team showed this season.
“They are a great group of kids. They make coaching fun,” said Brown.
The 2018 softball team may have set high expectations for this year, but the 2019 team exceeded them. After having succeeded in making it to the state championships for the second year in a row, the team hopes to continue with their success and teamwork next year.