Softball earns number one seed in playoffs


Stu Mair

The Leopards line up in the infield for the playing of the national anthem shortly before the game.

Dom Mazero, Staff Reporter

The 14 W’s covering the wall outside the room of the AP Government teacher and head softball coach Jeff Roberts is poised to grow in numbers as the softball is ranked 14th in the state as result of an undefeated season in District 10-5A. They have acquired a number one seed for playoffs and will play a best of 3 game series against Frisco Wakeland starting Thursday at 7p.m. at Frisco Lone Star.

“The student athletes are why we are undefeated,” head coach Jeff Roberts said. “We have a talented group of young ladies who have worked hard on and off the field. Their ability to come together as a cohesive unit has been key to our success. You can have the greatest athletes in the world, but if they do not work together, they will not be successful.”

Despite earning a number one seed in the playoffs, Roberts doesn’t think it will be easy.

“We get the #1 seed from District 10-5A which sets us up against the fourth seed from District 9-5A,” Roberts said. “That seems like an advantage, but as of last week there were five teams tied for first place in that district. Once you reach the playoffs, everyone is 0-0.”

The road to an undefeated season had some bumps along the way.

“Weather has been the worst I have seen in my years of being a head coach,” Roberts said. “In eight seasons, I have been lucky enough to go to the playoffs each year, and my teams have won 6 district championships. Never have we had to deal with weather like this. We are currently 20-3 on the season, and usually by the time you enter the playoffs, a team will have played around 35 games. Injuries can be a tough obstacle, but this year when a person went down, another immediately stepped up. Amanda Conner was often for quite a while with an arm injury, but Mallory Lusby did a tremendous job stepping in at first base.”

Some players believe that the activities off the field were just as important as the ones on the field.

“I think that something big is definitely our team chemistry,” junior softball player Jaclyn Willis said. “We are so close and enjoy being around each other all the time, and it contributes to how we plays as a whole. We all trust each other, and know that no matter who is up to bat or who the ball gets hit to, they’ll get the job done.”

Even with all previous wins, the players treat every game like it was their first no matter who they’re playing.

“I’d have to say an obstacle was playing every game in the second round with a fresh mindset,” senior softball player Stephanie Cunningham said. “Not underestimating or getting overconfident in our game regardless of what happened or the outcomes with any team we faced during the first round of district play.”

With the success this season, the softball teams feels confident and excited to head into playoffs, hoping they can make a run at state.

“I honestly think playoffs will go really well,” Willis said. “I’m confident that if we play how we know to and keep up the great pace that we will continue to be successful. With us getting in first in district, it sets us up for a very nice road to Austin (where state is). I think we have a very very good chance of making it there.”