Reality sunk in for a couple Marshall seniors that they’re time playing high school softball season.
“It just hit me 30 minutes ago when Nana (Vences) said this is our last first home district game,” Emily Ellenburg said. “It’s literally my last year playing high school ball, any sport.”
“I think we’re going to be fun this year,” said Vences, whose three-run home run gave the Lady Mavs a 4-1 win in the district opener of the Longview Lady Lobos. “I think we should be one of the top teams in our district.”
The two seniors say if they’ve learned anything in the past 12 months, it’s to enjoy the game while they can because it can be taken away from them unexpectedly.
“I think last year, we weren’t expecting any of that,” Ellenburg said. “We were kind of brushing it off and this year, I know we’re literally not taking anything for granted because we’re kind of timid or kind of scared it’s going to be taken away from us but hopefully it doesn’t.”
“I think we’re playing like we might not come back and play just because last year we played, we lost and we never came back,” Vences offered. “That sucked. We’re trying to avoid that.”
“We’re giving it our all,” Ellenburg added.
At the plate, Vences owns a batting average of .438 with seven hits, two of which have gone for doubles, two triples and two have left the yard for home runs. She currently has 10 RBI and scored five runs. She leads the Lady Mavs from the circle where she has pitched 19.2 innings and started in four games. She owns a record of 1-2 and has 31 strikeouts to her resume so far during her senior season.
Ellenburg has 10 hits, five doubles one home run, 5 RBI and has scored six runs. She has pitched 1.2 innings with on start from the circle.
“Nana is a great leader, a great teammate and Emily is too,” said Brent Achorn who’s in his first year as head coach of the Lady Mavs. “I’m excited to coach them and I just wish I had those two for another couple years. We’ve got a great team. They’re all coming together and gelling. They’ve accepted me and the new coaching staff jumping on boar. We’ve got a tight, tight group.”
The two seniors say the transition to Achorn as their head coach has been a smooth one for the most part.
“It was hard at first because coach (Alli) Shepperd was my coach from freshman year,” Ellenburg said. “I was comfortable with her and I was scared that there might be big changes in the program, not necessarily bad but I was scared to change.”
“I think mentally, we’re a lot more there,” Vences said. “I think a lot of us were a little bit nervous scared. I think we’ve done a good job with being a little older and having seniority and making them more comfortable.”
“I’ve become a lot more confident hitting the ball,” Ellenburg added. “I think coach Nut and Miller have really brought out the confidence in me.”
The Lady Mavs are slated to return to action today when they open up their home tournament at 8 a.m. against Ore City. They will cap off the first day of the tournament at 6 p.m. when they go up against Central Heights.
“It’s our tournament and we want to win it of course,” Achorn said. “Just to get them a little more playing time with the weather the way it has been. This is our first district game because of the weather and the COVID. We were supposed to have a break between the two tournaments but they’re excited to play and everything. Hopefully we’ll win it, learn a little bit more and just keep getting better.”