Two Keller ISD teams moved into the softball playoffs last week, but they took very different paths.
Keller came away with a sweep of Fort Worth Paschal in the bi-district round, while Timber Creek lost two one-run games against Weatherford.
Keller moves on to the area round this week and will travel to Midland to take on El Paso Montwood in a best-of-three series.
Timber Creek lost 5-4 and 4-3 and finishes the season at 18-11.
For the Lady Indians, the sweep of Paschal in convincing fashion was a nice way to get back on track after dropping their last two games of the regular season. One of those games was an 8-4 loss to Timber Creek.
“We finished our season with three really tough games,” said Keller head coach Bryan Poehler. “We really needed to get our confidence back.”
The Lady Indians got their confidence, in part, due to the resurgence of their offensive game which was an area of focus recently, Poehler said.
Keller notched 32 runs in their 18-8 and 14-7 wins over Paschal.
“We worked heavily on the offensive side of things,” Poehler said. “The bats are back again and we’re going to need that through the playoffs.”
Although the focus has been on the offense, Poehler said there’s always room to tighten down other areas of their game. The reduction of errors is also a priority.
All season, Poehler has told his team its success will hinge on the ability to score a lot of runs.
The Lady Indians will have the week to prepare before traveling at the end of the week to Midland. Practicing for three days before the travel day is a good rhythm for Keller.
“It lets the girls get their mind right and at the same time, get their minds relaxed,” Poehler said. “It’s conducive for how we play.”
For Timber Creek, the end of the season, although arriving sooner than desired, marked an achievement for the program.
The Lady Falcons made the school’s first softball playoff appearance.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed in the outcome,” said Timber Creek head coach Laura Moore. “But the kids played great.”
In the first game of the series, a Lady Falcons error helped give Weatherford a three-run lead. In the second game, it was 4-0 going into the seventh inning.
“The kids are fighters,” Moore said. “We were down one with two on and two out and Hailey (Joiner) gets two strikes on her and she hit a shot. The right fielder played way over and was on the warning track and the ball hit right into her gut,” Moore recalled. “It came down to the very end.”
Timber Creek is still young, with just one senior and one junior on the field and no playoff experience.
“For them to show that fight, it shows what’s to come,” Moore said. “They’re a bunch of fighters and they’re not going to quit. We beat Keller and Carroll this year. It’s a good group of kids and a close-knit group of kids and an awesome group.
“I put it on them early after making a statement last year,” Moore added. “We had gotten to the end of the season tied with Northwest and lost the play-in game. It was our expectation to be in the playoffs this season or it would be a failure. We stuck to that. (Making it to the playoffs) wasn’t a goal. It was an expectation.”