On Saturday, after concluding a 2-0 sweep of Bruceville-Eddy, the Salado Lady Eagles softball team advanced to the regional semifinals for the first time in program history. The Lady Eagles are led by second-year head coach Kory Craddick.

“Coach Craddick is a great motivator,” said Salado star slugger Shyenne Hicks. “He made a lot of changes when he started here two years ago and those changes have paid off. He expects 110 percent out of us all the time — and he gets it. He’s done a great job for us.”

Craddick spoke with the Herald’s Allan Mandell after Saturday’s 5-4 Game 2 win in Belton.

Coach, what were your thoughts regarding today’s game?

I just told our girls after this game that Bruceville-Eddy is one heck of a team. I fully expected us to have to battle today — and we did. We were in pressure situations all seven innings. I felt like our girls dealt very well with those pressure situations.

We kept our heads high. And we kept going and making plays.

How about that clutch two-RBI double by Malory Schattle?

Well, it was the key at-bat of the game. Malory came through for us and that helped us a great deal emotionally.

But I do want to also add that all of our girls, all the way down the order, came through today, too.

Malory and I had a talk at the end of Game 1. I was hoping that she’d remember that talk we had. I had wanted her to scoot up in that box and drive the ball to right field because they weren’t giving her anything inside. Everything they gave her was outside. Malory came through with that clutch hit, and we ran the bases hard as soon as she hit it. Malory gave us a big, big spark.

And how about the way Morgan Hill battled for you in the circle? She is so tough.

Well, I’ll tell you something interesting. Morgan said to me this morning, “Coach, I sure didn’t like the feeling I had (Friday) after I finished running track (at the state meet in the 100 hurdles).” I asked her what the feeling was.

She said, “I didn’t like my season ending.” I knew right then and there, that Morgan would be doing whatever she needed to do to make sure that today was not our last day of playing softball this season. She pitched her heart out. Once again, she proved that she is an absolute competitor.

You have been saying all along how unified this Lady Eagles team is.

The unity on this team is incredible. It takes every player on our roster doing their jobs to get as far as we have. Our kids are competing so hard. And our bench lifts everybody up with their constant cheering. I could not be any more proud of a team than I am of this one.

Contact Allan Mandell at amandell@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7566​ and read his blog at KDHPressbox.com

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