The Navajo Lady Indians softball team’s season came to an end last year long before they were ready and the bad taste never left the players’ mouths.
They had much bigger plans for their team than where they eventually ended up and this season, the thing that weighs most on their minds is making it right.
Once the final game was played, the Lady Indians record stood at 20-15 and it is a record that most would be satisfied with, but not these girls.
Now they move on to the new season with a clean slate giving them the perfect opportunity to start fresh and build their legacy.
When they step onto the field, they are doing so with the bulk of last year’s roster intact. Not only that, they are also doing it with a core group of girls who played together throughout the summer and used the time to develop their individual games so that when this season finally got to them, they were exactly where they needed to be.
“This team — they’re ready to roll. They have outplayed my expectations this summer. We played 22 summer games and that’s basically a full high school season already,” Head Coach Terry Gilbert said. “These girls have held up and even though we lost four, we haven’t played a bad ball game all year. This bunch can really hit it and they’ve learned how to play defense. They can run bases and hit with any team around. If we put it together, we expect big things.”
Tabitha Armstrong is the team’s go-to ace and in the first game of the fall season against Snyder on Aug. 9, she pitched a full seven innings, striking out two and giving up only two runs.
Gilbert likes what he has seen from her, from the summer games until now and believes if they can remain solid through their pitching and error-free play, they will achieve anything they want .
As for bats, Armstrong is no slouch in that area either.
With Brooke Burgess in the one spot, Armstrong at the two, Gracee Bates at the three, and Emmy Cobb playing clean up, Gilbert is confident they can produce offensively night in and night out and that has gotten him excited about his young team.
“We knew awhile back that we were going to have a strong group of young girls,” Gilbert said. “We could kinda see it then and we had a pretty good idea of what we would have.”
And now Gilbert is doing his best to mold these girls into a championship team. It would be no surprise to anyone to see them make it to the state championship this season. The power hitting is there, the pitching is there, and most of all these girls have a chemistry that is hard to find with any team, no matter the level.
Time will tell, but these Navajo Lady Indians are prepared and ready to go with championship dreams playing over and over in their heads.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.