You know, I don’t think we’ve seen what Mooreville’s softball team is really made of. But I think we’re about to.
For all the program has accomplished in the last decade – four slow-pitch state championships, one fast-pitch title – I don’t think we’ve seen the full depth of their character and resolve.
This year’s group of seniors has been the driving force for the past three seasons, and many of them were big contributors to the 2003 title team. So the recent slump Mooreville suffered was quite astounding, yet not all too surprising when you look closely.
Senior Rachel Tally knew exactly what went wrong when her team lost five of seven games going into Monday night’s game with Region 2-3A foe Nettleton.
“Lately, we haven’t been going out there and having fun. We just think it’s a job and not fun,” she said. “We have to see it as fun and a job.”
The rest of state’s 3A contenders will be disappointed to hear that the Lady Troopers are having fun again. They sure did Monday night, rolling to a 9-2 win against the first-place team, a team that beat them in late August to set off the skid.
When you become so methodical and efficient, as Mooreville has, it’s easy to see how the fun can seep out. This is a team that’s faced few challenges in the regular season in recent years. Now, it’s abundantly clear that Nettleton is in the same league as Mooreville; I’d say Booneville and Kossuth are, too.
But as Mooreville coach Rex Berryman was quick to remind us all, it’s too early to crown a new queen. It was essentially this same group that eliminated Nettleton last year en route to the state title.
“Some people are saying this team, that team is better than us,” he said. “Well, you need to win something first before you start hollering who’s the best and all this.
“To have this happen this year and not make playoffs,” Berryman added, “that’s a situation I don’t like, and maybe they don’t like it enough that they can pull themselves out of this hole.”
I suspect they will.