The year 2000 was an amazing year for me. It was my senior year of high school, and the Brazoswood Lady Bucs had been one or two games short of going to the state tournament 3 years in a row. I was determined not to repeat history.
It started in the off season. I printed posters and taped them on each of my teammates’ lockers. “State Bound – Going all the way!” with the state of Texas in the background. I needed everyone on the same page from day one, and eventually it worked! We started talking differently. It wasn’t “if” we go to the state tournament, it was “when” we go.
This was also the first year that I started dragging my dad out to practice. Our normal routine usually consisted of him asking me if I wanted to pitch and me groaning a few times before giving in. That year, Dad would come home from the office, sit down in his recliner, and I’d say, “Get up. Let’s go pitch. We’ll run out of day light if we don’t go now.” This time he was the groaner, but he loved my determination. That fall, I pitched SIX days a week.
When season started, I was so focused on winning state that it was all I could think about. Nothing else mattered, and what happened that spring was truly unbelievable. The Lady Bucs went undefeated in district for the 5th or 6th year in a row – we expected that. Then, our undefeated streak continued all the way through playoffs. On top of that, every playoff game went extra innings except for the first one.
We finally made it to the state tournament in Austin, Texas, where we got to play at the beautiful University of Texas stadium. Like the others that season, the championship game went 15 innings. It was a pitcher’s duel. My favorite. Finally, in the bottom of the FIFTEENTH inning, Lynne Tousek hit the winning RBI. The Lady Bucs went crazy. It was such an exciting night, and one I will never forget.
What’s even more unbelievable is that I finished the season with three no-hitters, a 33-0 record, and a 0.00 ERA. Yes, not a single earned run scored the entire season. But even though it’s “my” stat – it was truly a team effort. I remember several spectacular defensive plays that kept the runners off the bases and in the dugout. We were just magic that year.
I share this story with you, because I truly believe it couldn’t have happened without our team pulling together to accomplish our goal. I encourage young pitchers to set goals – both personal and team-oriented. Expect more out of yourself. Believe in your abilities. Encourage your teammates to do the same. I promise the results will far exceed your expectations.