The Lady Wolves’ softball team has started off the year undefeated. They have risen to the top and are determined to stay there. They just can’t be beat and are preparing every day to return to Columbus again for gold. They have a new Junior Varsity team as well as their 2017- 2018 state championship winning Varsity team.
When asked about the exciting addition, head coach Mary Stephenson said, “I love it, it’s fantastic! I think it’s great for our program, and I am very proud of it. It’s good to provide developmental opportunities for players at different places with their experience level. I also believe that it helps support the long-term future of our team.”
The Varsity team has started out undefeated with a winning streak of 12-0; and they look forward to continuing this streak during region championships. However, even the best of the best have skills to perfect, and this does not exclude the lady wolves. Assistant coach Greg Lisson said, “I think that we haven’t fully arrived with our hitting yet, but I think we are about to break out and get better.” With room to improve, the team continues to work hard at practice every day, hoping to make it back to state championships this fall.
In addition to the team’s strong offensive players, it is full of extraordinary pitchers and catchers. The pitchers are the first wall of defense on the team, and they are unbreakable. When asked how sophomore pitcher Jessica Nolan has confidence in her teammates while on the mound she said, “That’s definitely something that I have struggled with in the past, but this year I think that I have come more to terms with it. I have one of the best defenses in Georgia behind me, and I know that they are always are going to have my back. The more you get to know them the more you feel safe around them and know that you can count on them to be there for you.” The relationships on this team are one of the most crucial pieces that make for such a successful team. Nolan said about the season progress thus far, “It’s been a whirlwind… but I have loved every minute of it. I think we have gotten so much closer as a team, and we trust each other so much more. We have two more months to go, and I think we can only go up.”
The team behind the pitcher also deserves much recognition. They work hard every day to teach and back each other up. From the words of senior center fielder, Jahni Kerr, “We are only going to keep getting better, and we are learning from our wins.” She can’t wait for the future of the team and is certain that when she leaves this year it will be in capable hands. Kerr said, “I think we should be good. We have a lot of great defenders, and I believe that Jessica Nolan can hold her own next year.”
However, it takes extraordinary coaches to make a great team, and that’s just what these coaches are. Both Stephenson and Lisson dedicate their time and effort into this team. It could not be understated that without these coaches the team would not have the success that they are accomplishing each and every year. When asked what quality she admires most in her fellow coaches, Stephenson proudly remarked, “I would say dependability and dedication, and I believe both of those things go hand-in-hand. I can always count on them, and they love the players above all else.” The love and support that these coaches have for their players is undeniable, and it is without question that they are fully and equally immersed in both the life of a player and the life of a Christian.
If Lisson was only able to teach these young ladies one lesson, this is what he says it would be: “I think it would be to give yourself and your teammates grace. Even the best players in the state will still get out more often than they get a hit. You must be able to take an out and put it behind you. It’s a sport that really teaches grace with yourself, because you have to learn how to be ok with not being perfect.”
As well as having determination and focus for this year’s goal to return to Columbus, these ladies also know how to have fun and treat each other like one big family. They have a countless number of traditions, some seemingly pointless and goofy, and others as a reminder of perseverance and willingness. “It’s hard to pick one, but I would say my personal favorite is when they flip the switch in the dugout,” said Stephenson, “it’s symbolic of taking things up a notch and sparking an offensive rally.” Overall, the lady wolves have a strong and confident team that is determined to win and make their coaches and teammates proud. The legacy of the Wesleyan lady wolves is here to stay, and they are without a doubt headed for victory.