One chance to advance

Softball opens playoffs with single game bi-district round vs. The Colony


Stu Mair

Celeste Soliz (5), behind the plate at last Friday’s McKinney game, catches a strike. The softball team opens the playoffs tonight against The Colony.

Nick Smith, Lead Reporter

The softball team begins its playoff run with a one-game, winner-take-all bi-district matchup against The Colony on Friday, April 29, at 5 p.m. at Prosper High School, after securing the third seed with a 6-5 win over McKinney last Friday.

“The Colony is a good little ball club, I’ve seen them play a couple times,” head coach Jeff Roberts said. “They have a senior pitcher that will be a challenge, but we’ve been practicing the same by preparing our players for the types of pitches and speeds that they will see against her. Other than that we can not let their best hitter, Zariya Stiner, beat us at the plate.”

Roberts said that the focus is not to let a single player, like Stiner, beat them as she has done recently by scoring all the runs against Frisco Centennial in a tiebreaker between the two teams. The girls will only have one game to get this right as it was decided between the two coaches to only play one game rather than a series.

“We wanted to play a series of three games, but The Colony wanted only one, and we lost the flip, so that is how it is,” Roberts said. “From my standpoint, I wanted three because I felt that the more we saw their pitching, the more successful we would be. Not that we can’t be successful in game one; just usually in a series, the best team will be the one that wins.”

In last week’s regular season finale against district foe McKinney,  the team was able to win on senior night despite a tough contest against a team Roberts described as a great example of “playoff competition.”

“We didn’t play to the best of our ability as we made some mistakes and let some runners on that we probably shouldn’t have, but we fought and we won,” Roberts said. “We controlled most of the game as we were up 3-1 at one point, but their pitcher did a very good job by using different speeds on us and they eventually took the lead. We then had a freshman that hadn’t played in few games come in and hit a double for us that gave us the win.”

With district play completed, SportsDayHS of the Dallas Morning News released the stat leaders for the area Thursday morning and features freshman Mattison Boyd with a 1.96 ERA and 10 victories, junior Emily Weichel with 22 stolen bases, and junior JoJo McRae with 37 stolen bases, the most in the area.

“Speed has always been my main asset,” McRae said. “It’s cool to see how I’ve contributed to the team by stealing that many bases, but it’s definitely a team game. I’m excited for our playoff run and to see how we all come together.”

In anticipation for their playoff run, the softball team purchased two types of playoff shirts in hopes of bringing more people out to the games to support the team. The players will be wearing bright orange shirts in school on game days, and a limited quantity of red shirts are available in the school store for students and parents.

“At first our intention with the orange shirts wasn’t to stand out, but the bright color is bringing attention to the team as people are asking about our games and how the team is doing now because of the shirts,” senior Jaclyn Willis said.