Krystal Smith knows that expectations are high for her White Pine High School softball team this season. After losing by one run in the state championship game last year, the head coach said that anything short of returning to the state tournament this year would be a “disappointment” for both herself and her players.
“Very rarely do you talk about the end result, but with six seniors, a strong pitching staff, strong bats through the entire lineup and a lot of younger kids who I think can give us some valuable time, obviously our goal is to get back into the state tournament,” Smith said.
The Ladycats took a strong first step towards that goal on Friday, earning their first two conference wins at home against an over-matched Agassi prep school. The runs came early and often as the Agassi Lady Stars struggled to throw strikes in the first inning, walking in several runs. The Ladycats quickly put the game out of reach several line drives and a home run by senior Jane Murdock. Smith eventually took steps to try and avoid running up the score, having hitters bunt every at bat and eventually swapping in the entire junior varsity team for some playing time, but the Ladycats still won the game 37-1.
The coach said that she was impressed in her team’s continued focus throughout the game despite the lopsided score.
“In a game like that, as a coach, you are constantly looking for things you can do to improve even though the score doesn’t mandate that to happen,” Smith said.
The coach was happy that her JV players got to go in and get some practice in a game setting as well since they don’t get to play every week like varsity does.
“Softball can sometimes be a disadvantage for the younger girls because not every school has a JV team for them to play. I thought it was great to see the varsity girls go out and get the job done early so our younger players could get some time to play,” Smith continued.
The Ladycats went on to win the second game of the weekend double-header in another blowout, but Smith knows it is too early into the season to really determine where the team is at. The coach said that she knows Needles and Lincoln will be the Ladycats true testing points this year and until they face them they need to focus on improving themselves no matter their opponent.
The Ladycats will head to Las Vegas on Thursday to face southern rival Meadows in a double-header scheduled to start at noon.