The ending to the softball season has been a tough pill for Harker Heights to swallow.

Heading in, head coach Sarah Cruddas felt good about the Lady Knights ending their 13-year playoff drought. Unfortunately, it didn’t transpire.

Harker Heights begins its season finale at home against Killeen tonight with a 5-8 record in District 8-6A, but it could’ve been different. The Lady Knights were competitive in all but four league games against Belton and Waco Midway.

They dropped two one-run games to San Angelo Central and Copperas Cove in the first round of district, and they had legitimate chances to beat both teams the second time around in losses of 7-5 and 8-4, respectively. All they needed was a break to go their way or a play to be made, and the results may have changed.

It’s easy to look back and wonder “what if,” but it just didn’t happen. As my dad always says — if ifs, ands and buts were candies and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas.

It’s a difficult ending to accept, but it’s also an opportunity for the Harker Heights ladies to be proud of what they accomplished. Cruddas, in her second year at the helm, has the arrow pointing up for the program.

A playoff berth was not a part of their successes, but a foundation has been set in place and the 2017 team kept the needle moving for the Lady Knights.

Seniors such as Cameron Flores, Klaudia Bohac, Destiny Perry, Jessica Reyes and Julia Sholes will be missed, as will fellow seniors Shaiann Rush and Natasha Munoz.

Looking back at the season and applauding the contributions that group of veterans supplied for the Lady Knights is easy. They did a lot on the field and led by example.

But the group of underclassmen who will return next year will need to turn the page soon.

The past is done, and you can’t go back and fix it. You can, however, move forward and prepare for the next campaign.

A litany of talent, such as Valeria Cosme, Kiara Tuncap, Hayley Brown, Lindsey Ratcliffe, Gabriella Woods, Divinity Merrick, Ja’Lynn Swiney and Laney Salcido will return and continue carrying the flag onward.

Harker Heights missed out again this season, but keep an eye out for the Lady Knights over the next few years.

The drought will end soon.

Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Previously spent time as sports editor at both the Hereford Brand and the Gatesville Messenger. Graduate of West Texas A&M University.

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