PALESTINE — The Lady Mustangs’ softball season came to an end Saturday after two big losses, but coaches said they are proud of the girls and looking forward to next year.
Madisonville lost 10-0 to Rusk two consecutive days, in games that were both called on a 10-run rule. The Lady Mustangs ended their season with a 23-9-1 record.
The Friday night game vs. Rusk “was a little rough,” according to Coach Miranda Butts.
“Our girls struggled adjusting at the plate,” she said, adding that there were eight errors.
Senior Jewel Smith pitched the entire game and was back on the mound Saturday, when Madisonville again faced the Lady Eagles.
“We saw a completely different light,” Butts said of Saturday’s game. “They seemed to have confidence. I think some of them knew we wouldn’t come out the way we wanted to but they had a desire to give everything they had, regardless.”
The game was again called on a 10-run rule with the Lady Mustangs shut out. The girls, however, had a strong performance.
“We adjusted at the plate,” Butts said. “Kayley Smith wound up getting two solid hits. Delilah Dodson got some hits. And they hit well. They hit the ball right in the hole toward center field.”
New MCISD Athletic Director Rusty Nail reassigned Head Coach Bo Dees at the start of the softball season, so the team also had to adjust to that change, but did so with grace, due in part to the leadership of the seniors, Butts said.
“I’ve never seen a team adjust they way these girls have,” she said. “They exceeded everyone’s expectations. No one expected us to make it into the playoffs.”
There will be a noticeable hole in the team next year with the loss of the seniors, particularly Jewel Smith, who pitches every game with no relief.
“All our seniors are really strong, independent and very good leaders,” Butts said. “They led our team very well. They were the glue. You don’t find that everywhere. They held the team accountable and pushed the younger girls.”
Butts added that there are four or five underclassmen who have a desire to pitch and “the potential to be good.”
“They want to work,” she said. “They want to learn. That’s really exciting for our program. There are some scary aspects, but the good thing is that they want to do it. That’s fantastic.”
May 6 vs. Rusk
Mville 0 0 0 0 0 -0 1 8
Rusk 0 2 8 0 X -10 5 1