To win this tournament, they had to pull off nail biter 4-2 in their first bracket game. Then they had to win it in walk off fashion in ITB in the second bracket game. Then to win the championship, they had to win a 7-inning game by the final score of 1-0. They certainly were not perfect this weekend, but they competed hard, never gave up, and managed to find a way to win each and every game.
I could tell you about all the highlight reel plays; the immaculate inning, the no hitter, the 1 hitter, the home run, the walk off game winning hit in ITB, the double plays, the pinch-hit game winning hits, etc., etc. But instead, I want to shine a spotlight on all the little things this team did well to win this championship, that as their coach, make me so proud of them. The many times our outfielders backed up a throw, so that on the occasion the ball is overthrown, they are always there to keep the runners from getting extra bases. The many times when a batter got out, they went to the next girl up and gave them advice on what they saw from the opposing pitcher. The many times our pitchers brushed off an error from our defense, did not express any frustration and focused on getting the next batter out. The many times an infielder got dirty diving for a ball to keep in the infield. The many times baserunners aggressively took extra bases, trying to win the game as the lead runner, or getting that free extra base as the trail runner when the defense wasn’t paying attention. And the many times our batters got down a bunt when needed, and the baserunners on suicide squeezes would blindly steal home, trusting in their teammate to get that bunt down.
Softball is a game of failure. You are going to fail way more often than you are going to succeed. But to come away a winner, you have to be the one who can deal with that failure and keep moving forward. There were many times this weekend when something bad happened, these girls just kept moving forward, trying to win the next play, trying to win the next inning. All the girls remained focused, and were ready to come through for their teammates when their number was called. And that is how winning is done.
This has been a challenging fall for this team. With the injuries and illnesses we’ve had. The rainouts. The high school age demands competing for these girls’ time and attention. To see them put it all together this weekend in the fashion that they did, this will be one I will remember for a long time.
I’d like to extend a special thank you to our guest players, Ayla, Emmerson and Natalie. Thank you Inferno Wiechmann and Inferno Groft for lending us players to help fill gaps that have been created by injuries. (And thank you to the others who offered to help but I had no room for). These 3 girls contributed all over the field, were instrumental to our teams’ success this weekend, and provided inspiration to our team thanks to the efforts they showed on the field.
P.s. Of course if you DO want to see the highlight reel plays, check out the tournament playlist here: USSSA Halloween Bash Highlight Reel