NTXIF 2024

Lady Raiders blessed with experienced roster

by | Jan 26, 2023 | Sports

Last season the Lady Raiders softball team was on the verge of a postseason berth by the end of the regular season.

In a one-game, winner-take-all game to try and reach the playoffs, Wylie East fell short against Lovejoy and saw their season come to a disappointing end. For head coach Demi McNulty said it put a chip on the team’s shoulder for this offseason.

“I think we discussed it during the fall of what we expect to accomplish heading into this season,” McNulty said. “We all agreed that we expect to surpass what we did last season, even for our first year in 6A. We worked hard this offseason and we’re committed all year to accomplishing that goal.”

As the team rounds into shape and concludes their tryouts, Wylie East said the key to this season and their new-look district is taking every game seriously and approaching every game with the same intensity.

“We need to treat every single day as a gameday,” McNulty said. “We need to practice how we want to play. When we needed a strong finish, I think we coasted it a little bit and I think they all learned from those moments and treat every game like it’s a championship game. I’m excited to see what they learned and putting all this into motion this year.”

Moving into the 2023 season, Wylie East returns several key players as it looks to make the playoffs. One of those is Presleigh Duff, the team’s ace pitcher from last season. She was a workhorse last season for the Lady Raiders, striking out 159 batters in 143 innings in 2022. While she took on that huge burden for the team, Wylie East’s next-highest pitcher had just 31 innings on the season, something McNulty wants to balance more this season.

“Presleigh came back from the summer with a different look about her approach to the game,” McNulty said. “She’s practiced and prepared a lot and she looks a lot stronger than ever before. She decided she didn’t want to go play college softball, so she was just doing it for herself and doing it even more for the school and her teammates. Hopefully, we don’t ask her to do as much this season. I plan to work in more players into the staff this year, but I also don’t want to fix a working machine.”

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