After losing six key players to graduation and other sports, the Lady Mustangs did not expect to be anywhere near the playoff hunt this season. At 6-6 in district play, however, Grapevine still has the chance to clinch the final postseason spot in 6-5A. Critical to the team’s success this year has been sophomore Cynthia Haugh.
“Cynthia is arguably the best player on the team and possibly one of the best players we’ve ever had here,” head coach Steve Bottoms said. “We are blessed to have her and she is a huge part of why we are still fighting for that last playoff spot.”
After starting every game her freshman year, Haugh has seen more playing time than her teammates.
“She has the most experience on the team and has become the natural leader,” Bottoms said. “As the catcher, she has almost become like a coach on the field. The other kids look up to her for leadership which is surprising but a good thing for a sophomore.”
Leadership is nothing new to Haugh. When she is not playing softball herself, she volunteers as an assistant coach for a GBSA softball team of younger girls. She tries to pass on her knowledge and experience.
“I try to stay positive and not get down,” she said. “You have to have fun with it and remember that it is not all about winning. You just have to go out there and play your best.”
Haugh’s best sets the bar pretty high. As of last week, she was sporting a .429 batting average and 30 RBI. Last year she tied the school record for hits and broke the school RBI record.
“She doesn’t play like a sophomore,” Bottoms said. “She plays like a really experienced player. She may hold every batting record we have here at Grapevine before she leaves.”
Haugh has made a big adjustment from third base to catcher this year, but has handled the shift with ease.
“It is a big change and I’m not really a catcher,” she said. “We lost a bunch of people and had to fill in the spots, so I’m trying my best and getting it done.”
Getting it done often involves keeping the rest of the team motivated, something that is easier to do with a team that gets along so well.
“I love that we are all really close, and that we give 100 percent all the way and never stop trying,” she said. “We have come together as a group and have really good team chemistry.”
Bottoms has seen his team make great strides over the last few weeks and credits Haugh’s leadership and play.
“After losing so many starters last year, what I thought would have taken 1-2 years to get back we have almost gotten already,” he said. “We have taken that step over the line to beating really good teams and we couldn’t have done it without Cynthia. She is a hard worker and a naturally gifted ballplayer.”
With two games remaining in district play, every play is important. Haugh is clear about her goals for the end of the season.
“Our offense has come together really well lately, and we are still in the race for the playoffs,” she said. “I want to win those last two games.”
The Lady Mustangs face Irving MacArthur on Tuesday night at MacArthur. Game time is 7:15 p.m.