Hallsville’s softball team only lost one game in district play but the Ladycats are motivated to keep winning because they know a loss today would mean the end of their season.
“In district you want to win but when it gets to playoffs, it’s serious,” Hallsville senior Anahi Ramirez said. “Game mode is on. Nothing is distracting you.”
“You’re more focused,” junior Danyelle Molina said. “We have to have our mindset right.”
“Right now we have a one-game playoff so that could be our last game so we really have to dial in,” Ramirez added. “I would say we prepare for it the same way we do in district but I think we go harder. It’s just mentally preparing ourselves.”
The Ladycats will go up against Jacksonville, an opponent they know won’t be easy.
“Since we had them two years ago in our district, I know they’re a pretty good team, very competitive, so we’ve just got to be focused, do what we do and we’ll come out on top,” Ramirez offered.
However, the Ladycats are confident in their own abilities and each other.
“Our bond is really strong,” Ramirez said. “We work as a team.”
“We get a long on and off the field,” Molina said.
Ramirez is well aware that her high school softball career is coming to an end and is trying to make the most of it while she can.
“It started to sink in,” she said. “I just try to cherish the moments I have with this group of girls because all 15 of them are my sisters. I just have to keep going, keep pushing because any moment could be my last moment on the field before I go to college. So that really does give me a lot of motivation to continue to push for this team but also for myself.”
Molina said she has learned a lot of things from Ramirez that she plans to use as a senior leader next year.
“Attitude, your attitude has to be good,” Molina said.
“Anahi is a four-year starter for me so she’s a huge part,” Hallsville head softball coach Kayla Whatley said. “Even without softball attached to her, just her personality and leadership, she’s always bringing that to the table for the whole team. They really rely on her. They look up to her and they expect her to bring that fun atmosphere when the pressure is on. At the plate, she’s been phenomenal. Defensively, she’s been our third baseman for four years so that alone speaks for itself and the fact she’s still in that position and she’s going to ETBU to go play for coach (Janae) Shirley.
“Danyelle is a junior and she has had an amazing year this year,” Whatley added. “She’s really turned that mindset around and started trusting us as coaches. We’ve known the ability has been there. She’s a great athlete. She’s really bought in and put that trust in us and herself. She’s had an amazing year offensively from the left side, and from the right side, whichever year she goes, she’s been successful. She plays outfield for us and is a huge piece of the puzzle and she pitches so I’m able to move here wherever I need her.”
Molina and Ramirez say they draw motivation and energy from their fans.
“Having fans in the stands is everything. Hearing them cheering, we love it,” Ramirez said. “We feed off the energy they give us.”
“It feels like they give me more energy when I need it most,” Molina added.
“Just knowing you have a community behind you that supports you is everything,” Ramirez continued.
Today, the Ladycats will play in front of their fans and community as they go up against Jacksonville.
“Just coming out and playing our game,” Whatley said when asked about the key to coming away with a first-round victory. “We’ve got to get the sticks going again offensively. Defensively, we just have to keep being strong and stick together but definitely getting those sticks back to life will be a huge key to that.”
First pitch is slated for 5 p.m. at Whitehouse High School.