Lady Wolves enter Regionals with high expectations
by Erich Hilkert
FAYETTEVILLE—The Fayetteville softball team made it all the way to Montgomery last season and the road to do so again this season begins today once again in Troy. The team will begin competition in the South-Central Regional against Faith Christian this morning at 8 a.m.

“It was just a great opportunity, but that’s past,” head coach Chris Sherbert said. “We’ve preached to these girls: you can’t accomplish this year on what you did last year. That’s in the garbage. Even though it’s good to reflect, it ain’t going to help us Friday and Saturday. There’s nobody down there that’s going to be scared of Fayetteville. But the thing is they’re going to be expecting Fayetteville. That means we’ve got to work harder, because we’re not going to sneak up on anybody. We made a name for ourselves. Everybody knows who we are. They know we’re a pretty good team. They know they’ve got to play a good ball game to beat us, so they’re not going to be scared of us, but we’re not going to surprise anybody either. That can be a dangerous thing.”

The Lady Wolves defeated TC Central 16-1 to win their area, but according to Sherbert, that was only the first step in their ultimate goal.

“Winning our area was a goal, of course, but it wasn’t the main goal,” Sherbert said. “It was just part of the process to be able to move on forward and get back down to Montgomery. That’s our number one goal is get to Montgomery. Hopefully, if we get down there, if we’re fortunate enough, we can compete a little bit better than we did last year. We always want to move forward and when we walk away from the season we want to be a little more accomplished. Our goal is to win the last one, because only one team in 1A is going to win the last one. Until you do that, you haven’t arrived. You’ve still got work to do.”

Sophomore pitcher and left fielder Lauren Guy believes the experience in Regionals last year may prove to be beneficial for this season’s team.

“Regionals last year was great,” Guy said. “It was so much fun. I think it made us more confident about how our area was going to be this year than it was last year because we had a tougher area last year. But this year when we go into Regionals, we’ve played a lot of the teams. We’ve played a tougher schedule this year, so I think we’ve already seen all the stuff we’re going to see at Regionals. I think that’s going to help us a lot.”

The team seemed both focused and loose in practice this week, making routine plays, taking responsibility for any gaffes and joking with Sherbert about a second career as an umpire.

Ace pitcher Haydn Hughes said it has one of the best weeks of practice she has seen in two years playing for the varsity team.

“I’m feeling really good,” Hughes said. “I’m feeling that we’re going to win. We’re all playing as a team and we all are like sisters. So, I feel pretty good about it. I feel like the pitchers are going to do what they should do and the defense and offense are going to do what they’re supposed to do.”

Guy explained she has seen a sense of urgency, but also a sense of enjoyment from her teammates.

“We’ve had fun this week,” she said. “It’s been serious, but it’s not been so serious where we’re just dreading to come. We’ve had so much fun this week in practice getting ready for Regionals. We’ve done really good on defense. We haven’t had a bad practice this week.”

Senior first baseman Summer Guy believes practices this week have been more laid back because everyone on the team is focused on their goals.

“We’re just trying to have fun, enjoy it, embrace it and we’re excited,” she said. “We’re ready. We’re going to go down swinging—literally. I think we’re going to do pretty good. We’re going to give it all we’ve got. Everyone has the heart for the sport.”

Two members of the team are perhaps more excited than others because they had to watch last year’s Regionals. Senior second baseman Katelyn Bierley had to sit out last season due to injury.

“Last year, I was out all year because I broke my hand,” she said. “I didn’t even get to play a game and I had surgery, so it’s been kind of hard, like at the beginning of the year, to just get back into the groove of things. But now everything is good and I’m excited to be going to Regionals.”

Junior outfielder and pitcher Amber Harris transferred to Fayetteville from Childersburg and also had to sit out during Regionals.

“I went last year and stayed until one in the morning with them, but I didn’t get to play any and actually getting to play—I’m so excited to go,” Harris said on Wednesday. “I’m so ready, I want to go home and pack my bags now. I think I am tonight anyways. I’m ready to play.”
© 2013