The Wylie Pirates are back on the hunt for a district crown and a playoff run, ready to take an even further step in 2023.
Reaching the regional quarterfinals last season, the Pirates finished 31-11 on the season and a perfect 14-0 against District 9-6A championship year. With most of the starters from last season back again, head coach Heather Damron is thinking even bigger.
“Ultimately our goal is to still win a district championship, but we want to get deeper into the playoffs,” Damron said. “We get hung on that second or third round, and we want to get past that point and compete for a state championship.”
The goal is lofty for most programs, but most programs in the area do not have the background or pedigree of the Pirates, who have been one of the better teams in the area dating back several decades. To reach the next level, coach Damron said the talent returning is key.
“We’ve got plenty of talent and a lot of players who have been playing softball for a long time,” Damron said. “What is going to be most important is everyone doing their job at the right time of the season. We can have a great hitter, but if she’s not getting the hit at the right time or in a big moment of the game it can be difficult to overcome. So, talent and consistency will be key for us.”
Several players return to the Wylie lineup, namely pitching options Hannah Messer, Jordyn Merrett and Aubrie Gunther all back and giving the Pirates a massive advantage in the circle. Not many teams can find two quality pitchers, never mind the three or four Wylie can rely on throughout the season.
“Softball is a lot different than baseball because there’s no set-up pitcher or closer or anything like that, so we’re fortunate because we can rotate in several different players,” Damron said. “We’re fortunate to have quite a few that came through at the same time, so we’ll ride the hot hand, and you never know how it’s going to play out week-to-week.”
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