STATE READY: Zion Chapel ready to face Sumiton in AHSAA Class 2A State Tournament

Published 3:00 am Friday, May 15, 2015

The Zion Chapel Lady Rebels are ready for state.

The Rebels traveled to Montgomery Thursday, and head coach Richard Johnson said the girls were all excited and ready to face Sumiton at 9 a.m. Friday even though the girls have a 5:45 a.m. wake up call awaiting them.

“I have to get them up and get them moving around early,” Johnson said. “Some of them don’t like to wake up. We are going to go downstairs, get a little breakfast in our stomachs, get moving around and be at the field at 8 a.m. to be ready to play by 9 a.m.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

After making it to state play following a win against Horseshoe Bend at the Class 2A South Central Regional Tournament, Johnson said the team had been working on getting back to being themselves and to not beat themselves.

“We have really been working on playing the type of ball that we can play, and we know that we can play,” Johnson said. “I have yet to see us play our best game. We played a very good game against Horseshoe Bend in the last game of Regionals, but we have to cut down on errors.”

Johnson said the biggest thing for the Lady Rebels would be forgetting who is in the other dugout as they take the field against Sumiton.

“For us, we have to stop worrying about who is in the other dugout,” Johnson said. “We don’t want to beat ourselves. If we can go out and do what we’re supposed to do with the outcome, good or bad, we’re doing what we can do, and that’s enough. We’re not going to let teams get to us. Not beating ourselves is really what we have to focus on.”

Johnson said the team had really come together toward the tail end of the season and bought into the idea that they are playing their own game. Johnson said since then the girls have played better and he’s been able to see a vast improvement in that.

“Their character as far as when something bad happens, they let it go” Johnson said. “You try to keep everyone else out and focus on yourself, and they’ve done a good job about that. We’ve had several games where we fall 2-0 and we die. I’ve told them that’s not the team I’ve seen all year long. We don’t quit. We keep fighting. Two runs is nothing, five runs is nothing in softball. That’s what we’ve worked on more than anything keeping the intensity level from the first inning all the way to the seventh inning.”

Johnson said of his 15 players it would take all of them to win the game today against Sumiton.

“The work they have all put in, especially the seniors, the dedication and the leadership they’ve given the team, I won’t single out a single kid,” Johnson said. “This is a team sport. We’ve gotten where we are because we’ve played as a team. We’ve had people step in and play their parts, and, to me, that’s why we are where are now. We’re fortunate, lucky and glad to be a part of this Elite 8.”

Johnson said the girls were excited to play, and more than that, they are ready.

“I feel like we have a strong defense, and I feel like when we are one and we’re doing what we’re supposed to do at the plate we do what we have to, we put the bat on the ball,” Johnson said. “We’ve faced good pitchers all year long and we’ve put the bat on the ball. Again, it’s just one of those things that you have good days and bad days, Hopefully, today is going to be a good day.”