The future is now for Lady Trojan seniors, only State Championship will suffice

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 16, 2000

Sports Editor

The thought is on just about every one of their minds, but maybe Charles Henderson Lady Trojans’ senior outfielder Jennifer Boutwell said it best – "If there is any time to win it then this is the year."

With six seniors graduating and five of those signing scholarships to play on the collegiate level, it could easily be said that this will be the school’s best chance to win a Class 5A State Championship in softball as today’s Sub-State series against Citronelle marks the beginning of the state fast-pitch playoffs.

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Don’t think that the thought hasn’t crossed the minds of the players. They all know what is at stake today in the three-game series and to talk to many of them they won’t settle for anything less than a strong showing.

"I think this year, anything less than a ring and a State Championship wouldn’t satisfy us," senior third baseman Christie Bradley said. "Our job would be complete then."

"I think we’re really close," first baseman Emily Christian said. "We’ve played together for many years and we’re just ready to do it. We want a championship and willing to do just about anything to get it."

"We’ve got so much ability and if we don’t get the championship I guess we will just have to be happy with what we get," senior Ashley Faust said. "We’ve just worked so hard and we feel like this is the year. We have six seniors on this squad who want a State Championship and we’re going to do everything we can to get it."

The six seniors on the squad: Christian, Amanda Pruitt, Boutwell, Betsy White, Faust and Bradley have been playing together for quite some time. Boutwell pointed out on the walk of fame leading into the Sportsplex where their names are listed on Rec League plaques for achievements at an earlier age.

"It’s kind of scary, all six of us have played together so long," Boutwell said. "This is the first time in four years that they’ve lost this many seniors. We’ve been through a lot of tough situations and we’ve pulled through. We expect a lot out of ourselves, but a lot out of each other as a whole too."

"It didn’t dawn on me until this weekend," Faust said when asked about possibly playing her final games as a Lady Trojan. "It’s scary. I’m going to college to play softball, but it will never be the same. I’ve grown up with these girls and it’s something I will remember for the rest of my life."

As far as going into state playoffs, the girls feel the team is ready and playing some of it’s best ball. No one can predict an outcome by any means, but after a hard-fought Sectional title in which they were forced to win four games in one day, many of the girls are optimistic.

"We seem to work better under pressure and work better together when we know we have to get a job done," Bradley said. "I knew we were going to come back, you could just feel it. It wasn’t a surprise to me because as long as I’ve been playing with these girls we always like to take the hard way."

"I think that that game last week against Trinity that lasted 11 innings really prepared us for it," Boutwell said about the long day Saturday. "It’s kind of weird how things work out that way for us. Those two games against Eufaula seemed like one game instead of two. You’ve got to dig-down deep and pull something out and that’s just what we did."

"I’ve never seen us be so driven to win," Faust said. "We weren’t letting anything stop us and I don’t think we’ve ever worked that well as a team.

"It made a big impact on me to see that we could put our minds to something and do it like that," she continued. "I know when you are in the State Playoffs everyone there is good and it’s whoever wants it more. Last weekend we wanted it the most."

The Lady Trojans will and "want" to win win will be tested started Tuesday in their 1 p.m. start against Citronelle at the Troy Sportsplex.