By Lukas Eggen Ely Times Staff Writer
The White Pine High School softball team’s march to State begins Friday. The Ladycats ended the regular season beating West Wendover 9-1, 10-1 and 18-0 as White Pine closed the season with a 20-8 record.
After a slow start in the teams’ first game, White Pine’s bats came alive.
“We came out strong on Friday,” coach Krystal Smith said. “We learned from our slow start on Tuesday and showed up to the fields motivated and energized for Friday’s games. We played an errorless second game on Friday, which is a nice accomplishment. We were much more vocal on Friday, with a strong sense of purpose and focus to improve.”
The Ladycats enter the playoffs on a six-game winning streak and have scored 75 runs during that stretch and held opponents to zero or one run in four of those six games.
“(We’ll be successful if we) play our current level of softball,” Smith said. “We’re back on the right path and all facets of our game are clicking. We need to be confident yet play with a sense of urgency. We’re in a good place right now to make a strong run through the playoffs.”
White Pine will honor its seniors on Friday. And the Ladycats will host the Division III Northern Region bracket, opening with a best two-of-three series against Silver Stage.The teams will play at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday, if necessary. The Ladycats defeated Silver Stage 5-3 earlier this season but getting a good start will be a big key to success, Smith said.
“We played a five-inning crossover game with them early in the season and played poorly, winning 5-3,” Smith said. “We need to attack their pitching, manufacture runs, and be solid defensively. Getting out to an early start will help our young team.”
After spending the final three weeks of the regular season on the road, hosting the northern bracket is something the Ladycats are grateful for.
“We’ve been on the road a lot this season, so it’s nice to play at home simply to not have to get on a bus and travel,” Smith said. “But it’s also nice because parents can fans can come support these hard-working girls. It’s also exciting to see so many young softball players come out to the fields and see some high-quality softball.”
For many of the athletes on the softball team, they’ve experienced success at numerous sports this season from volleyball to basketball. That success will help drive the team toward reaching its goal of a state title as the softball team looks to bring home a state title.
“We build off of success, not become complacent because of it,” Smith said. “We have discussed the importance of playing every game to our best potential, and that becomes even more important now that it’s win or go home. We know our ultimate goal, and wont’ be content until we reach it. It’s rewarding to be ranked so high in the division, but we’re not satisfied with just that, and we’ll continue to work hard to accomplish more. I expect my girls to have a strong week of practice with immense focus. We will take the rest of our season one day at a time, and not look past anyone. We expect to play our level of softball and win.”
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