Aledo softball coach Jeff Lemons took mental notes last fall when the Bearcats volleyball team reached the Class 4A state final.
An assistant coach on the volleyball team, he wondered just how good a year it might be for Aledos teams.
Gallery| Aledo softball sendoff
I sure didnt want to to be on the outside looking in, and personally you feel it, but there was never any pressure from any of us here, Lemons said. Just probably some self-imposed pressure and some expectations.
Riding a perfect softball playoffs so far, the Bearcats (40-3) face Buda Hays (30-10) at noon today at McCombs Field in Austin.
The softball team is the sixth Aledo squad to reach a UIL state-level competition in the past four years. Throw in football titles, and its nine teams since the fall of 2009.
Its no longer a question of if an Aledo team can make it to state, but when the coaches can book a bus for Austin.
Its really confidence I believe, Lemons said. You know watching the little things that went on during the volleyball run, the one thing that kept jumping out was how much the players really believed they belonged there.
For the softball team, its their first appearance since winning state in 2008. That team was led by Texas Gatorade Player of the Year Whitney Canion, who recently completed her junior year at Baylor.
Everyone talks football, Canion said, but Aledo is about all of its teams, and they feed off each other.
Lemons said all that starts with the environment Aledo athletes find themselves in, especially softball.
These kids find other times of the day to work on things, its not the time we get with them, he said. They want to get better, and now everyone around here just expects to make the playoffs.
Canion said its not just the softball team going to state.
Its the whole town, she said. They had a parade for us, and I felt like it was the entire town that came to the parade. Those are such great memories.
Because the 2013 team is all juniors, sophomores and freshmen, Lemons sees no reason for a letup any time soon.
Im constantly talking to my peers about better or different ways to be the most productive, he said.
Added principal Dan Peterson, Were continuing an excellent year. Its incredible.
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