St. Michael earns first-ever state tourney berth

FORT DEFIANCE

The St. Michael Lady Cardinals softball team had a slow start but improved and believed in themselves and finished the regular season on a high note.

The Lady Cardinals earned the school’s first-ever softball state tournament berth after finishing No. 15 in the Class 1A statewide power rankings.

St. Michael softball head coach Karen Tom said she was initially shocked and then completely ecstatic.

“Early into our season we were struggling to keep a full roster,” she said. “I had players who were injured and others who were newcomers, coming both from the middle school and transferring from another school or institution.

“They were either new to the game or had little experience,” she said. “I had one veteran of the team, who had played four years of varsity softball.”

Tom said she is overjoyed that the team has earned a state tournament berth.

“I know the battles we have overcome, through injuries and playing with only eight girls at times,” Tom said. “We had a rough start. Many of the players were hesitant and doubtful of their skills.”

At the halfway point of the season was when a “switch” turned on, she said.

“The girls were beginning to trust one another and they were communicating better on the field,” Tom said.

Every mistake became a teaching tool rather than just an error they dwelled on.

Tom said although pitching, defense and batting have been key areas of improvement, she said self-evaluation has been instrumental.

“They have learned to be leaders on the field and teachers to one another,” Tom said.

“I told them that I could teach them how to play the game and how to execute certain plays, but I couldn’t make them a team,” she said. Tom said now that the girls are coming together as a team, they are constantly reminding each other how every play counts.

“Everything must be executed with effort and teamwork,” Tom said. “In order to win the first round, we need to start off strong and play our game.”


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Categories: Baseball