Swinging for the fences

Parkview Lady Panthers set their sights high

Lexi+Walker+takes+a+swing+at+Parkview%E2%80%99s+home+field+to+keep+the+inning+alive.+

Sania Chandrani

Lexi Walker takes a swing at Parkview’s home field to keep the inning alive.

Sania Chandrani, Editor-in-Chief

Hot uniforms, four hour practices daily, and intense games are no strange concept to the Lady Panthers Softball team. The Varsity Team’s hard work paid off this season when they won their home conference game against Grayson by a score of 1-0. The team is now in its post season, and the players’ eyes are pinned on a State Championship title.

The Panthers are composed of primarily younger players this year with only three seniors on the team.
Third baseman, junior Alexis Walker says, “We had three seniors last year too, so we’ve always been kind of the underdogs. Last year, all but two of our starters were sophomores, and this year, we’re mostly juniors and freshmen.”

Playing as a team is especially important with any team, and strategy often becomes the key to victory. Walker says, “We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. If someone messes up, we always have new techniques–working on backhand, setting your feet, or not going over the top.”

In the recent game against Grayson, the team demonstrated some of this teamwork.

“No one gave up. We really pushed for the win,” Walker said, thinking back to the game. “We made sacrifices.” These included Hannah Turnbull who knocked a pitch. “Hannah’s a freshman, so it took a lot of focus and being a team player and get a simple hit. She didn’t try to swing for the fence or anything.”

Enthusiasm also goes a long way. Samantha Rosa, who was pitching during the game, Walker says “was constantly trying to pick us up because she wanted to win so badly, and in the end she was so happy she was crying.”

No stranger to being team player, Taylor Muirhead who holds the team record for most hit by pitch (HBP) at 25 walks praises the team’s hitting and “solid” defense. She says, “If we have a weakness, I would have to say it’s either stupid or silly mistakes.”

The team practices daily throughout the year with games about twice a week during the season, and because it is something they have done for so long, many players seek relief in the sport.
“Softball is just a way for me to let everything go,” says senior Taylor Muirhead. “If I ever have a bad day, I can always go hit or throw, and it takes my mind away. It’s a part of me that makes everything going on in my life simple.”

While it is a release, softball is by no means relaxing. Many times, the sense of family keeps the team going through such an intense year. Almost every member began her softball career as a child and continued it through to her freshman year and onward.

“We [juniors] all started out together, and we’ve all come up. Since we all play together, no one wants to quit.” Walker mentions.

Muirhead adds, “We back each other up and yes there are cliques you could say but overall, it’s like we’re all sisters under one roof.”

As one of the three seniors on the team who also handles a rigorous course load and plans to continue to play in college, Muirhead reflects on how the game affects her academics. “My grades are actually better when I’m playing softball. I think the limited free time I have…forces me to study and do homework,” she states.

Over the years, Muirhead says, “[Softball has] taught me to stick through the slumps of life and that talent isn’t everything. It takes dedication, sweat, blood, and hard work to get where you want in life.”