The Russellville Indians softball team has found a lot of success this year.
The team is 19-3 on the year and ranked number 8 in the Class 2 top 10 for softball. The team is also the number 2 seeded team in the Class 2 District 3 Tournament bracket.
During the season, the team went on a 12-game winning streak. Head coach Lucas Branson said the team was strong on both sides of the ball during its winning streak, making some big plays on defense and putting together some very good offensive performances, as well.
“They did a good job of playing the game hard and putting pressure on the other team,” Branson said. “During that run, we had several come-from-behind wins as well, and I feel like that helped build confidence as well as the mental toughness necessary knowing we were never out of any game.”
During their winning streak, the Indians outscored their opponents 131-23. Throughout the season, Russellville has scored 10 or more runs on 13 separate occasions. Branson said the team has done a good job of hitting the pitches they want to hit and taking advantage of their speed.
“There have been several big innings because of the pressure our offense put on our opponents,” Branson said. “We have stressed all season taking risks on the bases and trying to speed up the other team and make them uncomfortable, and we have been very successful with that.
Branson said everyone on the team has been contributing to the team’s success.
“The girls have done a good job of settling into their roles and at times when we have had a couple players struggling, others have stepped up and had some big at-bats or defensive plays that changed the momentum of the game for us,” Branson said.
Branson said throughout the season, the team’s defense has been steadily improving, and the Indians have gotten solid pitching during the season.
“There have been a few situations along the way that have put us into some trouble, but then we will make a big play to get us out of an inning to keep our opponent from scoring more than a couple runs,” Branson said. “Also, our pitching has been solid from the beginning. Playing through a two-week stretch of 11 games really was tough, but our pitchers continued to stay strong and fought through a lot of adversity.”
To keep the success going, Branson said the team has to keep focus on the little things. Branson also said the team must continue to show up ready to compete, even in the middle of a hectic schedule.
“We have to continue to maintain our focus on the little things, as I call it,” Branson said. “Being able to make the routine plays when needed and keep the pressure on the opponent due to our speed, pitching and defensive athleticism. Right now, the biggest challenge is keeping everyone mentally and physically fresh. To date, playing 22 games in a little over a month has been hectic, but our girls show up ready to compete and get better everyday.”
The Indians’ next game is at 3 p.m. Oct. 14 against South Callaway in the first round of the Class 2 District 3 Tournament at South Callaway High School. If the Indians win, they will play the winner of the New Bloomfield/North Callaway game at 6 p.m. Oct. 15 in the semifinal round. If the Indians make it to the District championship game, they will play at 1 p.m. Oct. 17.