Crawford softball and baseball teams push each other with sibling type rivalry

Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 7:30 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - As the high school softball and baseball playoffs continue, more and more local teams are seeing their seasons end.

For Crawford, both programs are still going strong.

The teams have found a balance between supporting each other, and competing with each other to see who can go further.

The relationship is built on friendly competition, and in the case of Cooper and Taylor Gohlke, it is a literal sibling rivalry.

Cooper explains, “It is kind of a contest each year to see who goes further. Obviously if they are winning, we want to keep winning – especially with my sister on the team, I always want to outdo her.”

Taylor adds, “Everything between us is always a competition. Who can do this or that better. It has been like that since we were little. Now that we are older, it is like that even more.”

The friendly competition makes both teams play better, and beneath the surface, the programs couldn’t be more supportive.

Head baseball coach Randy Smith says, “When we see them succeed it makes us extremely happy for them, and they do the same for us.”

Head Softball Coach Kirk Allen agrees, citing a recent example: “The other day, we had already won and the boys were still playing. We were in the restaurant eating and every single one of them was on their phone watching the game changer to see how they were doing, and every time they scored the girls would go crazy.”

Just two years ago, the boys were going crazy celebrating the softball team’s state title, but despite the Lady Pirates technically being the defending champs, they have a young roster, so, instead of playing the role of the favorite this post season, the group is just focusing on playing their best softball.

Coach Allen says, “I preach to them every week that we have to get better. If we don’t get better, someone will pass us up.”

The baseball team has a similar message. Coach Smith says they are hot at the right time, but not peaking because they still have room to grow, and they have the leadership get it done.

“Man, when you have five seniors like the ones I have, it makes my job easier. They coordinate things, they get the younger guys in the right positions, they talk to each other, and they get on each other,” Coach Smith tells me.

Crawford fans may seem spoiled having two teams still alive this late in the post season, but the excitement is deserved for a town that spoils its athletes year in and year out.

Coach Smith, who also played at Crawford, smiles and says, “The community support is unbelievable. It was that way when I was in school, to now, so hats off to them.”

Allen concurs, adding, “It is amazing. We have the best fans, best parents, and the people come out in droves.”

The softball team is playing in the Regional Finals against Italy this week, with Game 1 set for Wednesday.

The baseball team will start its series against Lindsay on Thursday with a spot in the Regional Finals on the line.

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