Sitting a game out of fourth place and a game below .500 in district play, Harker Heights head softball coach Jaime Stephens believes her team is in the perfect position for a run in District 8-5A.
To do that, the Lady Knights have to believe that as well, Stephens said.
“I feel that our kids can,” Stephens said. “They have to understand any team can be beat on any day. That’s one of the things that we’ve kind of been preaching to them.”
Heights certainly understands the negative side of that cliché.
The reason the Lady Knights are 2-3 rather than 3-2 in league play is that they gave up a five-run lead against Ellison in the Lady Eagles’ lone district win this season.
But Heights remains just a game behind Copperas Cove in the standings and, despite a run-rule loss to Belton on Tuesday, the Lady Knights are confident after a 15-4 win against Shoemaker on Monday and a 10-1 loss to Temple that Stephens said was closer than the final score.
Even with the nine-run loss to Temple, Stephens said avoiding the run rule against the perennial power Tem-Cats was a sign of progress for the Heights program.
“It’s not very often that we go seven innings with Temple,” Stephens said. “So, going seven innings, that’s a huge accomplishment. That’s one of the things that we talked about after the game.”
One reason for Stephens’ optimism is that the Lady Knights have been getting strong performances at the plate from multiple players.
Alex Roques went 2 for 2 with an RBI double against Shoemaker while Sierra Warren went 3 for 3 with a walk and three doubles against Ellison. Warren also impressed in the circle against Shoemaker, striking out seven in a complete-game victory.
At this point, the biggest leap the Lady Knights need to make, according to Stephens, is mental.
If Heights can get over that hump, it may help them get over the hump in the District 8-5A playoff race as well.
“They’re just going to have to come in with the mentality that they can play with anybody,” Stephens said. “We can’t be scared of who we play. If we go out and we have a solid game, I think we’re going to be successful.”