Last season, the Killeen Independent School District’s softball teams watched as the other rivals in District 8-5A played on into the playoffs. Now it’s time for time for them to make some moves.
Killeen, Ellison, Shoemaker and Harker Heights look to improve and make it into the postseason in 2014 after all four Killeen ISD schools missed out on the playoffs in 2013.
“They have true goals, our goal is to make the playoffs,” Ellison head coach Rebecca Daley said. “We know that we have to take every game seriously.”
Waco Midway proved to be the dominant team last year out of District 8-5A after winning the district title and advancing to the regional quarterfinals.
Midway is still looked at as the team to beat this year.
Belton, Temple and Copperas Cove finished second through fourth in the district last season, but each was eliminated in the Region I-5A bi-district playoffs.
The Lady Knights’ young core of players should come into maturity this year. Catcher Regan McIlvenna was a first-team all-district selection and could be looked upon to help the Knights bring around a new pitcher after losing all-district second-teamer Brianna Smith to graduation.
The Lady Eagles (5-3) look for improvement after going through district play tied for fifth with Harker Heights.
The middle of the defense will be the strength of the Ellison lineup as shortstop Dusti Douglas, catcher Kennedy Connell and leftfielder Alexis Watson are all juniors this season.
Douglas, Connell and Watson were all second-team all-district selections in 2013 and are the top returners on a team that has just two seniors in the lineup after having none last year.
“It’s really cool seeing new leaders emerge with the senior class,” Daley said. “Seeing them become vocal leaders, seeing them become emotional leaders. It’s awesome seeing those leaders in different aspects of the leadership spectrum.”
Shoemaker catcher Laryn Brinkman was an all-district selection last year after leading the team with a .357 average, 10 hits, five RBIs and two doubles in 13 games last year.
She was also Shoemaker’s leading playmaker on the basepath, finishing with eight of the team’s 18 stolen bases last year.
Killeen looks to bounce back from its struggles in 2013.
The Lady Roos (1-2) did not win a district game last year, but head coach Randy James looks for improvements along the way that could lead to big results come May.
“Like everybody else, our goal is to make the playoffs, but we want to take those little steps and be better every practice, every game that we play,”James said.
Killeen would have had a returning all-district infielder in Miranda Coronado, but the junior moved away.
The Lady Roos are led by junior infielder Amanda Daniels, who could also play catcher this season.
“She’s been on the varsity already and she knows what that competition is all about,” James said. “Amanda is not so much verbal as she shows her actions on the field and in practice. Right now she’s working hard, trying to improve her game to make our team forever.”