By Melissa McCaghren
It may have been a frigid 30 degrees outside Thursday (Feb. 13), but the Slaton Tigerette softball team was heating up the diamond in their scrimmage against Dimmitt.
Head Coach Brandon Langston said they have been practicing since Jan. 24, with 15 girls playing. They picked up an additional 23 after basketball season was over Tuesday (Feb. 11).
Their goal? To break another record and advance to the Regional Finals, besting last year’s historic landmark.
So far, Langston is pleased with the work put into that quest.
“We had mostly girls who have been out since the first day of practice play in the scrimmage with the basketball girls throwing and hitting since Wednesday was their first day out. We did some really good things, having a lot less girls out it gives them an opportunity to work on some things,” he said. “We have a couple of girls who have been working on slap hitting and I thought they did a good job of doing it in a live situation. We also had some younger kids and some kids that are on the bubble between JV and Varsity do some good things and hit the ball well.”
The scrimmages also help with that practice. “Scrimmages are just a glorified practice, and I feel like we have had two good scrimmages where we did some really good things, some not so good things, and then seen some stuff that we just need to work on,” added Langston.
Additional to this practice and quest to get to the Regional Finals and State is a tight knit team.
Langston said the team returns 11 Varsity players, all who started at least a few times last season. It only lost two starters from last season due to graduation, but he added that he felt the team would step into those holes to keep moving forward to those new goals.
And those goals are high. “Last years team set the expectation pretty high for us, I feel like every year over the last four years the teams have improved and kept pushing the bar higher for the next season,” said Langston. “I think we have a great group of kids back and have a lot of talent returning. We have 11 returning Varsity kids as well as four more who travelled and experienced the playoff run last year and so the experience from last year’s run should help them more prepared on a daily basis.”
That said, with the successes of last year will come some challenges to repeat.
“We know that we now have a target on us as a team from this Region that we did not have last year. We know that we will have to work harder and be more focused to get back to where we got to last year,” he said.
Langston said in order to get them to miss that target, they’re going to be preparing even harder.
“We have a really tough non-district schedule to help us prepare for our tough District and the teams we would see in the playoffs and so hopefully playing Snyder, Midland Lee and Seminole, as well as playing in the large school division in the San Angelo Tournament will help us see the level of competition that we will see if we can make a deep run this year and better prepare us for those games,” he said.
The first game was Tuesday (Feb. 18) at home against Snyder. Results will be published in next week’s edition.
The team continues their play with the Sadler Monument Tournament today (Feb. 20). They will play Coahoma and West Texas on Thursday, Lubbock Trinity and Muleshoe Friday (Feb. 21) and Ralls on Saturday (Feb. 22).
Following that they will play Midland Lee on Feb. 25 beginning at 4 p.m. then San Angelo Feb. 27-29 for the Concho Classic.
Langston said he hopes people will come out to the games this year. “Our community rallied around us as we made our run last year and we had some fun games,” he said. “Our playoff game versus Kermit and then against Brownfield (last year) we packed the stands and was an awesome experience for our girls and really thrived off of the energy that our fans brought to those games,” he said.
“It’s a fun group to watch, our JV is a fun group to watch and a lot of talent as well.”