Head Coach Kory Craddick led the Salado Lady Eagles softball program to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history.
“Coach Craddick was an important part of our success,” said Salado shortstop Malory Schattle, who earned District 22-2A Offensive MVP honors. “Coach helped make us realize just how good we could be. He wanted it as bad as we wanted it. He knew we wanted to make it far this year and he did everything he could to help make that happen.”
Craddick talked with the Herald’s Allan Mandell on Wednesday.
Coach, what were your preseason expectations of the 2014 Lady Eagles?
Well, I really thought we could get as far as we did. And if things went just a little bit better for us against Crawford, we could have gotten to Austin to play for that state championship. This was a really special group. They did what no Salado softball team has ever done. They accomplished so much. They’re the best team, in my opinion.
What did you think was the key to all this success?
The key to our success this year was their no-quit attitude. They played together so well. There were plenty of times that they could have just shut down but they refused to do that. It sure was a lot of fun.
It was nice that Malory received the Offensive MVP award.
Oh, yes. Malory deserved it. In district play, she just crushed everyone. In those 14 games, she batted over .700, she had a 19 for 19 hitting streak, over 30 RBIs and seven homers. And then she kept it going in the playoffs.
We all knew Shyenne Hicks could hit. But it was great that the district coaches saw fit to give her the Defensive MVP award.
Yes, she certainly earned that. She played three positions and fielded fantastic at all of them: third base, first base and pitcher. Shyenne was always willing to do whatever was best for the team. This award is a testament to her commitment to team play.
And, again, what a year Morgan Hill gave you in the circle.
Yes, Morgan did an outstanding job this year. She was a great leader by example. The girls really fed off of her. Her pitching was a major part of our success this season.
We’re betting it meant a lot to you that both Reagan Best and Josie Norman made first-team all-district.
It certainly did because both of those girls deserved it. Reagan, as our leadoff hitter, got on base a lot. Josie was a clutch hitter for us in the No. 5 spot. Both were very solid in the outfield. Very few balls landed in front of them and there were even fewer that ever got to the fence against them.
Also, you had to be pleased that CeCe Cantu and Kristen Oakes received second-team recognition.
I was very pleased about that. CeCe did an outstanding job solidifying third base for us. It wasn’t her position of choice, but she did whatever this team needed her to do. And Kristen Oakes? Wow! She played both right field and second base for us and did a great job. Both were good hitters. Those two are good examples of what “Ohana” (family) was all about for us.
It’s certainly worth mentioning that catcher Jenna Calder and infielder Meagan Hill earned honorable mention.
It is important because Jenna stepped in as a freshman and caught two senior pitchers and did an outstanding job. I’m glad that was not forgotten by the other district coaches. Meagan played second base the majority of the year and did terrific there and also batted in the No. 9 spot which, essentially, gave us a second leadoff hitter because she’d so often start rallies.
Finally, Coach, what will you remember most about this team?
I have so many memories that it’s probably best that I not pick out just one.
But here is what’s most important: These girls will always have a special spot in my heart.