VAN, TX (KLTV) -
Its State Championship week for high school softball and for Van, it hopes the third time is the charm. The Lady Vandals have been to the State Tournament two times before, but came home empty. With four seniors leading the way, this year's group is confident it can finally break through.
All eyes are on the Van softball team as it gears up for Austin, and the girls are loving every minute of it. "Everybody wants to be us, and everybody is looking up to us right now, it's a big deal," senior shortstop Ashlin Lovett said. Senior catcher Haleigh Moore added,"Going to state has been our goal all year. We are not surprised, but its just so much better than we ever imagined."
The Lady Vandals have only suffered one loss the entire playoffs, but now they must handle the bright lights and atmosphere of McCombs Field. "I don't think we are going to be the team to buckle under pressure," Moore said. "I think its going to be exciting for us. We like it when our fans are loud and our friends are there." Senior pitcher and third baseman Nicole Gandy added,"Its something we are used to. I am pretty confident that we will do really really good, and we should do fine. I'm not really worried about it."
Van has reason to be confident heading into its state semifinal game against Snyder considering the team has won 22 of its last 23 games. "We believe in ourselves and this team believes in each other," head coach Craig Ham said. Moore added,"We have the talent, but we also have the confidence so we have both the keys there.
They also have solid pitching and a deadly offense. The Lady Vandals have outscored their opponents in the postseason by a combined 55 runs. "Me and Autumn together we are unstoppable, I mean you better be ready," Gandy said. Lovett added, "I mean we work hard. I feel like all we do is hit in practice and during the periods, its all we do."
All the girls want to do now is bring back the schools first ever softball state title. "It would mean everything because its winning state, its what everyone wants to do and this town does too," Lovett said. "It would just be amazing." Coach Ham finished by saying, "We are going down there for one reason," and we are going to try and win a state championship.