Coaches look to moments in a season where they see their teams come of age or mature in ways they couldn’t have imagined.
For interim Brewer coach Matt Chapman, he not only had one such moment this season, he’s had two.
Brewer has struggled in recent years but finds its softball team on the cusp of a signature season at 21-5-1.
“It’s a pretty exciting time,” Chapman said. “It’s been sort of a crazy year but they found their stride and the girls are just playing good softball.”
After a 2-0 loss to Keller in tournament action earlier this season, Chapman said his kids were mad and that it was clear they felt like they left too many opportunities on the field.
A win over Wichita Falls Rider in the first half of district play cemented their confidence and signaled that the Bears were playing in the moment.
Things started in unexpected fashion this season when coach Chris Hall was forced to early maternity leave just one game into the season.
Hall was entering her second season as coach and things were looking bright for a team that battled last season despite losing starting pitcher Sarah Miller to a broken finger midway through district play.
Miller returned with authority in 2013, posting a 1.79 ERA and leads the team at the plate with a .539 average.
“She’s been dominant, has great command of her pitches and mixes things up well,” Chapman said. “But it only starts with her because she gets a lot of ground ball outs and fly balls and you have to have a great defense behind her to win games.”
Only one senior is on this team full of underclassmen.
Freshman third baseman Shannon Rhodes is hitting .500 in the leadoff spot and earned the starting role after Destiny Chavarria moved to short this season.
Senior Carissa Luna anchors the outfield, hitting .450 and covering the ground necessary on defense as Chapman platoons players in right and left field.
“We’ve tended to score lots of runs at times, but I’m really surprised at how many times they’ve gutted-out 1-0 or 2-1 wins,” Chapman said.
Bell dominant again
The Blue Raiders are off to a 19-5 start and undefeated (8-0) in District 6-5A.
Laura Lewis has 114 strikeouts in 103 1/3 innings this season, surrendering 29 earned runs.
Taylor Brown is hitting .600 with 15 extra-base hits and 44 stolen bases. She’s followed closely by Lauren Mankel, hitting .535 with three home runs and 26 RBIs.
Bell knocked off Colleyville Heritage last Tuesday 5-2 in what is likely the stiffest competition the Raiders will face in district play.
Mansfield Legacy ace Kendall Potts is out indefinitely and coach Michelle Mayfield did not give a timetable for her return.
The 2012 Star-Telegram Super Team player last pitched Feb. 19 against Plano East.
Potts, a junior, had thrown 18 innings with 31 strikeouts and 11 walks and had given up no earned runs at that point of the season.
Games of the week
Country Day at All Saints, 5 p.m.
White Settlement Brewer at Wichita Falls Rider, 6 p.m.
Grapevine at Colleyville Heritage, 7:15 p.m.
FW Christian at Grapevine Faith, 6 p.m.
North Crowley at Arlington Bowie, 7:30
Richland at Southlake Carroll, 5:30 p.m.
Denton Guyer at Trophy Club Nelson, 6:30 p.m.
Dallas Ursuline at Nolan Catholic, 7 p.m.
Mansfield Legacy at Red Oak, 7 p.m.
Saginaw at Saginaw Chisholm Trail, 7:30 p.m.
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