With almost entirely new roster, Crawford looks to defend 2019 state title

Updated: May. 31, 2021 at 11:32 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Two years ago, the Crawford softball team took home the state title.

Last year, the team looked primed to do the same, before COVID canceled the season.

The Lady Pirates are preparing for the state semifinals tomorrow, but with mostly freshmen and sophomores in the starting lineup, the group doesn’t feel like it is defending the 2019 state title.

Head Coach Kirk Allen tells me, “Most of these kids have not been here before, so we haven’t even talked about defending our title, we have just talked about making our own way, doing what we want to do, blazing our own path.”

The young roster has proven it can handle the high-pressure moments, with a walk-off win in game-three of the Regional finals last Saturday.

Still, some of the few players who were on the 2019 state title team have been preparing the others for the biggest moment yet.

Junior first basemen Kylie Ray says she told the team, “It is completely different than anything you have ever experienced on a softball field. It is a big, big, big-time stage. You really have to try not to get into your own head and not think too far ahead. Just try to stay in the moment and imagine you are at your home field playing with your normal fans there.”

Most of the normal fans will be there tomorrow – and they have been there since this group started playing together nearly a decade ago.

Kristy Goldenberg’s daughter, Addison, is on the team. She says, “It is definitely going to be emotional, but that is who I see. When I see her out there I see that little girl and all that work and energy and effort they put in. We are so proud of every one of these girls and they all contribute.”

The parents are contributing too. Micah Smith, whose daugher Rachel is on the team, braided his hair to bring good luck during this playoff run, and he will go one step further if they can win it all!

“The parents made a bet with the girls that if we win Wednesday, they get to shave my head. So, I guess that is what we are going to do,” laughs Smith.

Micah says losing his hair would be worth it if it means these girls get to see years of hard work pay off.

“I am so proud of them. Seeing how big they are now, seeing how much they have grown. I feel like I am a tough guy, but it almost makes you want to cry sometimes. I am just proud of all of them,” says Smith.

The Lady Pirates will play West Sabine in Austin tomorrow afternoon with a spot in the title game on the line.

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