|10/05/18 - |
The Ada High softball team made great strides from the summer, when new head coach Taylor Canida-Henry began working with it until the end of her first fastpitch season.
Sure, like Canida-Henry, many AHS softball fans got greedy when the Lady Cougars started winning toward the end of the season. But after having a week or so to reflect, there’s no doubt this team came a long way in a short time.
• The Lady Cougars won 10 games. That’s 10 more games than the team won in all of 2017.
• Ada finished third in the Roff Tournament. That field had some quality teams. The Lady Cougars were still standing when several ranked teams had bowed out, including one that is in the state tournament this week.
• The Lady Cougars dropped a 6-5 decision to Tishomingo — and had chances to win that game. The Lady Indians are in the field at the Class 3A State Tournament this week.
• Ada defeated Stratford 12-4 for its first win of 2018. And it was a decisive win. The Lady Bulldogs went on to win 15 games this fall.
“We had a great year. Coming from no wins to 10 was huge for this program. They learned how to win again and finish games. They showed so much toughness and fight,” Canida-Henry said.
It wasn’t the easiest gig in the world for a first-year coach to take on. But she did it. Canida-Henry and the team grew together throughout the year.
“I hope I taught them a lot, but they taught me more. The most important thing I learned was to coach with love,” she said.
My favorite term Canida-Henry uses to describe the 2018 AHS softball season is “reboot.” The dictionary definition of reboot is: “restart or revive or to give fresh impetus to.” It fits.
Ada seniors Makenzie Marion, Kaley Watkins, Madison Wilson and Dixie Redman were vital to the turnaround.
“My seniors were wonderful. They started the reboot of this softball program. They were great leaders and great kids. They will be so missed. They should be so proud of themselves,” Canida-Henry said.
One of her fondest memories from this season was the smiles she saw on her players’ faces after getting that first victory of the season out of the way on Aug. 10 at Stratford.
“Winning our first game of the year really stuck out to me. That was a really cool moment. The girls were so excited and so happy. I’ll never forget that,” Canida-Henry said.
Although the season ended with a teary-eyed home loss to Latta, Canida-Henry tried to get her team to remain positive and understand what it accomplished.
“I get chills thinking about how far they came since summer league in June. They started the reboot (there’s that word again) of this program. I told them how proud they should be of that. No one thought we would win 10 games, and being able to say we did was another thing to be proud of,” she said.
The reboot is official. I’m already looking forward to the sequel.