Varsity softball off to a strong start, has high hopes for remainder of season

On Feb. 27, while most District mandated activities were canceled due to the severe weather, a small group of Westlake parents could have been found at Butler Field, bundled up in their blue and red sweatshirts, watching the varsity softball team fight for a close 3-2 win over Austin High.

“We really came together as a team to win against Austin High,” left fielder sophomore Sarah Hildreth said. “It was sleeting, and we had to go into extra innings to pull it off, but overall we had a great win early in the District season.”

So far, the Chaps are 7-2 overall and 3-0 in District. They hope to repeat as District champs and make it all the way to State in the playoffs, but first they have to get through some tough District games against strong opponents such as Bowie and Lake Travis.

“Our district is very competitive,” catcher sophomore Juliana Brown said. “[Bowie and Lake Travis] have especially strong offenses, but so do we. So when we play them it’s an evenly matched game. It all comes down to how bad we want it and how hard we play that night. Last year we were able to shut both teams down, so it shouldn’t be too hard this year.”

The girls are confident in their playing, but they know that there is work to do in order to claim a State title.

“We aren’t perfect, obviously,” Juliana said. “What we really need to focus on this season are communication and trust on the field. Off the field we all get along great, but on the field everyone tends to focus on their own game, and we don’t really trust each other. Trust is the most important factor to success as a team.”

Outside of practice, the girls spend a lot of time together at team dinners and parties in order to build their relationships. With the team consisting of girls from all grades, it is important for them to get to know each other well outside of school.

“From freshman year to sophomore year, I’ve become extremely close with each person on the team,” Juliana said. “I love knowing people from older grades because they can offer you useful advice because they have been in your position and understand it better than anyone else. We are all connected off the field, and it’s really comforting to know that, as my friends, they’ll always be there for me no matter what.”