When Head Coach Steve Watkins took over the Borger Lady Bulldog softball program before the 2009 season, the varsity squad was one that had seen a couple of years of struggles on the field and was a program thin in upperclassmen leadership.
As a result, Watkins was forced with the task of putting together a varsity team full of sophomores and freshmen that was a little green in some of the fundamentals of the game, which in turn led to the team taking a couple of lumps the past two years on the field.
Fast forward to now and those young players and Watkins stuck together, through several ups and downs to become a team that has been competitive this season, holding a 15-12 record going into District 1-3A play, which begins tomorrow afternoon when the Lady Bulldogs host Pampa at 1:00 p.m.
In regards to the team holding a winning record going into district play, Watkins credits his upperclassmen saying, “I am pleased with our experience and leadership. We have been competitive and almost beat two great teams in Lubbock High and Canyon, so if we can put it together and be consistent in playing a complete game I know we have the talent to be right there in being able to make a run at the playoffs.”
There is plenty of credit to go around the team, with each of the players stepping up to fill the roles they are asked by Watkins and his staff. However, a couple of the players Watkins said have stepped up this season include his catcher senior Lexie Fleming, senior first baseman Alex Lopez and senior outfielder Brittany Thomas.
The Lady Bulldogs have also seen two underclassmen come in and contribute immediately in sophomore utility player Taryn Karins and freshman lefty pitcher Taylor Hickman, and Watkins is quick to give her credit in stepping in and becoming a consistent factor for the team in that area.
Watkins has been happy overall with the effort he has seen. There is no question that with 12 losses that the coach knows there is still room for improvement, from leaving too many runners on base and still booting around the ball a little too much on defense.
However, expect the Lady Bulldogs to continue to work hard over the next month to continue improving in those areas, which in turn should allow the team to be right in the thick of a fun playoff race with the other three district teams.