The NS softball team continues on in their outstanding season, leading their region. The girls have maintained a nearly perfect region standing, which currently sits at 8-1.
Grand traveled to NS for a double-header matchup on Wednesday and gave the Lady Hawks their first region defeat.
Senior player Brooke Price attributes the loss to overconfidence. The team found out that Grand had lost to Richfield, whom the girls had mercy ruled 16-1 two days earlier.
“Grand came to play. They played their best game all year against us,” Price said. “We were not ready for it, and we didn’t start catching up until it was too far into the game for a recovery.”
The first game ended with a final score of 8-5 in Grand’s favor and some frustration from the Lady Hawks. After a fifteen-minute break and long talk with their coach, the girls returned to the field with their heads in the game.
“We knew our capability and we understood that we weren’t playing at our best level.” Price said. “We literally just had to snap out of it and get into game mode again.”
Price has the sixth most home runs in the region, and one of them took f
The team showed Grand what they were really capable of during their second matchup, winning 11-4.
Contributing immensely to the team’s success is sophomore Nakiah Taylor, the team’s main pitcher this season. Taylor ranks second in the region for most strikeouts; 32 total over 16 games, and just two less than the leader.
“I just feel like I have more control with the ball this year, and my movement pitches have been working a lot better,” Taylor said.
Playing college ball is what drives Taylor to be a great pitcher, and the support of her parents encourages her even more. But Taylor says she wouldn’t be so successful this year if it wasn’t for coach Landon Bailey.
“It helps when I have a coach who knows what he’s doing when he’s calling,” Taylor said. “It’s like we both know what to throw in every situation, and it’s helped me get more strikeouts.”
While the connection between coach and player certainly has an impact on Taylor’s performance, her continual practice and work with different teams has also built her ability.
“Nakiah’s just worked incredibly well, and she’s doing really really well as a sophomore,” said head coach Landon Bailey. “She pitches all year round, and she’s played a whole bunch of games for various teams all season long, so she’s turned into our most consistent pitcher.”
With no teams in the region even close to their standing, the girls expect a strong finish to a successful season.
“I think what’s made us different from other softball teams this year is the dedication we have to make ourselves better,” said senior player Laynie Gillins. “I think the team chemistry is a big part of it as well.” Gillins currently holds the highest batting percentage in the region; a .549 percentage.
Senior Lexie Olsen is one of the pitchers for the team, and her 18 strikeouts mark her as having the fifth most strikeouts in the region. Olsen says that this year is her personal best, as well as the best the team has had.
“In other years the girls have kind of separated into groups, but this year we all hang out and we all like each other and we all support one another,” Olsen said.
Team unity seems to be a unanimous reason for the team’s high level of performance this year, but the pool of natural talent among the girls helped as well.
“Everyone on the team has talent in like everything they do,” Olsen said. “They all know exactly what their role on the team is and they have no problem getting it done.”