Softball charges into playoffs after key victory against Tigers


photo or infographic by Emily Meachen

LETTIG THE BAT DO THE TALKING.. Headed to first, sophomore Kynlei Chapman runs after a successful turn at bat during the teams first game against Conroe.

Work hard. Play hard. Whatever it takes. 

The softball has competed throughout the entire 13-6A District for the season with these things in mind. The playoffs will start Thursday when the softball team will face the Eisenhower Eagles at Shelly Field. 

A rough 1-3 start, the team went into their last game with  a 5-4 record, The Going into competing against Conroe is the championship game for the Wildkats, dictating whether or not they reach the playoffs. 

The game on Friday night against Conroe was the final game of the regular district season. With the win against Conroe, there was a four way tie for first place, leaving it down to decisions between coaches to choose the places on the leaderboard.  After a coin flip, the play-off order was set. 

“We are not getting complacent,” head coach Shelby Tinklepaugh said. “Practice is still just as important as it was the first day of season.” 

Practicing hard and translating it into the game was the key to a victory. It was a high stakes game, and the team prepared the best way they knew how.

“To prepare for our last district game we continue to work hard and know there is always room for improvement and an opportunity to get better each day,” Tinklepaugh said. “We are preparing just the same as if we were playing the first place team. This is a huge game for us and we are going to be prepared to win!” 

The players compete every single inning of every single game, never letting up or underestimating any opponent. 

“In round two we came together and made big things happen in critical situations,” junior Lainey Niederhofer said. “Winning against Grand Oaks was a complete confidence boost for the entire team. For our final district game we were treating it like any other game, we were not going to underestimate Conroe just because we run-ruled them last time. We gave everything in practice and implemented it into the game, because winning would guarantee us a playoff spot.”

The second round of the district taught the players lessons on learning from your mistakes. It will be crucial in the play-offs to continue learning and adjusting. 

“The second round of district was when we made adjustments,” Tinklepaugh said. “We watch film from the first round to be prepared for what is going to come at us each game. The mistakes we made in the first round, we have learned from and we haven’t made the same mistakes again.”

Adjusting to the game and competing to win is the mindset of champions. “It was very nerve racking pitching against Grand Oaks but I knew if I was going to do good I had to stay calm,” freshman Sydney Prihoda said. “In round two we competed more, had a lot more energy, and honestly just wanted it more.” 

Remaining in the championship mindset will lead you to the championship game. This should help the team as they face the first round of the play-offs. 

“In the playoffs, practice will not change much,” Tinklepaugh said. “We will continue to work hard and improve every single day. Practice can get long and repetitive when you have been practicing for months, so I am always trying to implement new drills to keep practice engaging and fun. Softball is a game of adjustments, and the girls have done a great job this round of doing just that.”