The season is over for the Colleyville Heritage softball team, but the program has a lot to be optimistic about in the near future.
The 2017 squad featured just two seniors, Kayla VanDeren and Megan Hasle, so the program has a strong group returning for next season.
The Lady Panthers were defeated in the area round by V.R. Eaton last week after finishing as district runners up, and coach Allison Conaway said she attributes the success her team enjoyed this season to a couple of factors.
“We have really focused on the value of being selfless with our athletes,” Conaway said. “We focus on being consistent in our preparation, attitude and effort, and all our teams members do a great job in that.”
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One of the players that came through for the Lady Panthers in a big way this season was junior pitcher Sydney Kaai, who Conaway said is the sort of player that any coach would love.
“Sydney has been super selfless this year, sharing mound time with Hannah Hasle and being a support for her,” Conaway said. “She has also filled a role at first base, which she had previously not played, when we had a player get injured. She has led by doing what’s best for the team and competing in whatever role was asked of her.”
Kaai said the team is very driven.
“We never settle for just enough,” Kaai said. “We always push to be the best. This team is so much stronger than last year because of the chemistry we have as a team.”
Conaway stressed that it really took a team effort to accomplish what the Lady Panthers did this season and said every player did what she needed to do.
“We have so many other kids who are leaders in so many ways,” Conaway said. “Whether it is stepping up in the field and elevating the level of play of those around her, like Maggie Black, working extra hard in and out of practice like Hannah Hasle and Sara Grace Parks, or bringing hustle and energy to the field, like Mari Prazak, Abby Pounds, Maggie Fanning and Kayla VanDeren.
“We have quiet leaders who are consistent in play and attitude every day, like Caroline O’Donnell, Sammy Arcuri, and those who do whatever job is asked of them, like Bri Clark and Edrina Zulali. We also have a great group of JV players who have elevated the level of play of everyone in the program.”
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