Lady Pirates head back to state tourney with redemption on their minds

Published: May. 31, 2022 at 12:40 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Surprise, surprise, the Lady Pirates are headed back to the state tournament.

For the third season in a row - and sixth time in ten years - the Crawford softball team is headed to the state tournament.

The Lady Pirates won the whole thing in 2019, before falling just short in the championship game last year - a loss that still stings.

Pitcher Kenzie Jones tells me, “I have nightmares. I really do. My silver medal is hanging in my room on my bulletin board and I think it is a really good reminder. It has definitely motivated me and I think it has motivated everybody else, also, this year.”

That motivation – combined with the experience of playing in the state tournament - makes this team as dangerous as ever.

Take it from Lexi Moody, who helped the team win the title as a freshman in 2019 and has only gotten better since.

Moody says, “I feel like I am still nervous, but I know what to expect coming in. As a freshman I had no idea what to expect, I had no idea what the atmosphere was going to be like. Now, I have a pretty good idea of what it will all be like.”

Even with experience, it is still a big moment, but the girls have a simple strategy for making those big moments feel less intimidating.

Moody explains, “We like to have a lot of fun. We mess around with each other all the time and we make it fun. It has been really fun with this team.”

Kylie Ray adds, “It definitely helps loosen your nerves. Whenever you get a little worried about going up to bat you turn and look at your teammates, who are just having a good time and always make you laugh. It is really helpful, it calms the nerves.”

The girls even have to calm down their head coach, Kirk Allen, who they say gets more nervous than any of the players!

Ray smiles, “We feel like he doesn’t eat during the playoffs! We have to force him to eat. We worry about him.”

Coach Allen laughs and adds, “That is so true. They always tell me to breathe. I do get nervous, but just before we start. Once we start the game I am totally fine.”

The Lady Pirates are looking to capture for their fourth state title this week, and they have the entire community of Crawford helping them get it.

Allen says , “Everybody is so close-knit. Everybody knows everybody. It is like one big, happy family. It would be a great big family celebration if we can win.”

Crawford plays Weimar in the semifinal game Tuesday afternoon at 4 PM.

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