The Lady Dragons softball team is halfway through district play and sitting even at 4-4. With plenty of big games still on the schedule, head coach Tim Stuewe is stressing the significance of each one.
“Every game is important and we are taking them one game at a time,” he said. “We need to take care of business in this round of district to claw our way back into the playoff hunt.”
Starting the second half of district play with a 15-0 rout of Keller Central was a good start.
“Offensively, we hit the ball really well and have the ability to score some runs,” Stuewe said. “We are also pretty solid in all nine positions and have several bench players who can come in and contribute as well.
With seven seniors and most of last year’s team returning, the Lady Dragons have plenty of experience. The key was getting the positions filled to maximize the team’s effectiveness.
“We lost our centerfielder to graduation last year and had four seniors and a sophomore to fill three outfield spots this season,” Stuewe said. “We also were moving around our first and third basemen and trying to figure out how our young pitchers would fit into the mix.”
Senior pitcher Alex Schneider starts most games, with sophomore Cami Green and junior Jessica Tunink rotating in as the other starters.
“Alex pitched about half of the time last year and continues to do a good job for us and continues to improve,” Stuewe said. “The two younger pitchers have really excelled on the mound in the opportunities they have had.”
The infield has seen some changes as well.
“Gretchen Morgan was a full-time starter at first base last year and has moved to third base this season a little over half of the time,” Stuewe said. “She has really made a good adjustment to the opposite side of the infield.”
With last year’s playoff bid fresh on their minds, the Lady Dragons are eager to repeat.
“Last year was the first time in a long time that Southlake softball has made it past the first round of playoffs, so it was a big milestone for us,” Stuewe said. “Every game now becomes more important to whether we make it into the playoffs or not.”
Stuewe is in his sixth year at Carroll and has seen growth in his time there.
“The program is continuing to get stronger each year,” he said. “We build expectations from within and the kids expect to do more each year. As we continue to build on each previous year’s success, it has been beneficial to helping the program grow.”
Tuesday night the Lady Dragons were set to face Timber Creek for the second time this season. After losing a hard-fought game to the Lady Falcons in the first half of district, the desire for retribution is strong, but Stuewe is not letting his team lose focus.
“The first time we played, they beat us 16-15 in a 10-inning marathon,” Stuewe said. “Every game is important, we have to treat every game like a playoff game.”
With six district games remaining, Stuewe is focused on his team improving every time they take the field.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” he said. “If we continue to improve and play as well as we have in the last few games, and build on that, we will be successful.”