The Varsity Softball team set out for their 2019 season with one word in mind: philotimo. The Greek word has no English definition, but impacts the world beyond imagination. Sophomore Danielle Schlader describes philotimo as “putting others before yourself and not worrying about what you need, but what your teammates need from you.” Philotimo is a word that enriches community, encouraging individuals to work towards the greater good for the ones they love. It sparks loyalty, integrity and purpose for each player. This mantra has been engraved into the tight-knit team’s minds as they paved their way to state.
The team kicked off their 14th state appearance on Wednesday, Oct. 16. The girls battled North Star High School in their debut round, ending in a 12-6 win. The game lasted 3 ½ hours, about an hour longer than any game the girls had played all year. The team went on that same day to play Elkhorn High School. The game continued for 10 innings and resulted in a 0-1 loss for the Crusaders. Since state softball plays by the rule of double elimination, the girls played Millard West on Thursday, Oct. 17. The Millard West Wildcats eventually came out on top, winning off of a homerun against the Crusaders with a final score of 5-6.
Although the third ranked team in Class A, the team placed fifth in the State Tournament. Senior Lydia Larson reflects on the experience as a whole and tries not to get caught up with the numbers of the season. “Even though we didn’t do as well as we had hoped, going to state with your team is an amazing experience in itself. We all share hotel rooms, go out to dinner, watch movies and bond with our coaches. It’s something that is more than one singular outcome and we had the best time this year with great moments, games and weather,” Larson said.
It is no doubt that the chemistry between the team is to credit for their success. The group continues their bond off the field and takes time to connect outside of the batting cage. Senior Megan Lawson attributes the most significant memories of her high school career to her team. “I will miss my teammates the most when I and the other seniors leave for college. We’re all pretty much like a family and playing without them next year will be a huge change,” Lawson said.
Coach Chad Perkins credits the unity between the team to the leadership exemplified by the seniors. “These 13 varsity players had the best chemistry I have been around in a long time. The players did a tremendous job accepting their role and playing for each other.”
The seniors did a great job keeping the team together as well as showing the younger players how it is su to be done,” Perkins said. The season may be over, but filled with young players and philotimo, the team is already excited for next year.