On the heels of a season that saw them in playoff contention until the final stages of district, and with almost every starter returning, it’s easy to understand why Chad Kimberling is anxious to start softball season.
The third-year Granbury coach is ready for his team to make a serious run at the top spot in District 7-4A. The Lady Pirates have not been to the postseason since 2010 when they advanced to the second round, the last of a three-year run.
“I told my wife when we moved to Granbury that it would probably take three or four years to get the team to where I wanted and expected them to be,” said Kimberling. “We are at year three now, and I can see it all coming together.
“I think that for us, next step is chasing down that district title, at least making a run at it, and then going into the playoffs and see what happens.”
The Lady Pirates, despite the youth last season, were 14-14 overall and 6-8 in district. They return seven starters from that squad, including junior pitcher/infielder Maci Samuelson, junior outfielder/utility player Ashley Edes, along with sophomores pitcher/infielder Destini Lopez, first baseman/third baseman Whitley Tipton, utility player Breanna Crain, and catcher/outfielder Taelyn Beadle.
And anchoring it all is senior outfielder Bailey Cole, a first-team all-district selection along with Tipton. Samuelson and Lopez were second-team honorees, and Beadle an honorable mention.
Cole batted .429 and Tipton .370 with 11 doubles.
Returning letter winners are senior outfielder Kelsey Clarke and senior utility player Sara Callahan.
Kimberling understands that 7-4A can be a challenge with the likes of perennial power Aledo, along with playoff teams Western Hills and Southwest. But he adds his team to that list.
“I think that we have a real chance at doing what has never done before at GHS. We have a legitimate shot at winning a district title,” said Kimberling.
“I think that these girls have really started understanding the role that they play for the betterment of the team, and they are willing to do what is necessary for the team to be successful.
“Our greatest on-field strength this year I think is going to be our ability to score runs. We have a little more team speed, and we have power in several spots in the lineup.
“I think that this season is going to be a lot of fun,” Kimberling said.
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