Young Post softball team looking to surprise, make deeper playoff push in ‘18 season

POST — Kelby Tidwell and Ariana Gomez showed up to David Nichols Park for their interviews in full softball gear, but they also were very cognizant it was 3 p.m. on a weekday and that they needed to scuttle back to the high school sooner than later.

 

It’s still basketball season at Post, and they’re key pieces of a Lady Antelopes team that finished district play with a second seed after Friday’s one-point district playoff win against New Deal.

Softball coach and general athletics trainer Ben Patterson knows he’s in a bind if the basketball team makes a serious run at the regional tournament. His season starts Saturday come heck or high water.

However, he also knows the multi-sport culture at Post will help him at a more meaningful point in the season. It proved useful last year when a team limited in senior leadership advanced to the Class 2A regional quarterfinal round with a freshman primary pitcher.

“I think it’s huge,” Patterson said. “These girls go from volleyball where it’s all about the footwork and being in the right position. Explosiveness. Then you run over to basketball and you’re getting your conditioning, speed and more footwork. All of that translates over when you put them in the infield or outfield chasing down a ball or in the pitching circle.”

The Lady Antelopes athletics program has enjoyed a banner year thus far.

Not only is the basketball team in the postseason, the volleyball team went three rounds deep this past fall. And those accomplishments followed a breakout campaign on the diamond.

And Post is still young with only two seniors on the opening day roster in Tidwell, a shortstop, and center fielder Aisha Walls.

“We’ve had our struggles,” Tidwell, a captain, said. “We’ve fought and fought, and it’s never really fallen our way. But last year, we came out and we worked hard every day at practice. We gave 100 percent and focused up. We made sure we did the little things. We set some goals and went out and achieved our goals.”

Post’s softball team finished in a technical tie for second in District 3-2A behind a Forsan club that went the same three rounds, though the Lady Antelopes finished third as result of a coin toss tiebreaker with Sundown.

And they did all of that with then-freshman Audrey Moreno — who is a junior varsity basketball team member — eating about 90 innings. She also led the team with 40 hits while batting .494 with an on-base percentage of .512.

Only Tidwell and Perez had more RBIs. They’ll make up the left side of the infield with Perez, a junior, at third base.

“I pitched over the summer a lot,” Moreno said. “I pitch every weekend with my pitching coach. I’ve practiced as much as I can just so I’m ready. … I think we have a very strong defense. Last year we were very strong, so we should be the same this year.”

Post’s off-the-field dynamic was important last season as well. It’s not changing much considering only three players graduated last season.

Losing co-captain Kally Comeaux is the biggest blow. She batted .431 as a designated player.

“The expectation is to go just as far,” Perez said. “Even farther because we really want to get to state and actually have the experience this year. Two of our strong seniors are graduating this year, so we’re thinking this is our year.”

The season begins with a noon game Saturday at Roosevelt, a team Moreno made her debut against in a 10-7 loss. The Lady Eagles went two rounds in the Class 3A state playoffs.

Crosbyton, Coahoma and appearances at the Rotan and Seminole tournaments round out a small non-district slate.

“It’s really exciting looking at what could happen,” Patterson said. “We’ve just tried to build a culture on working hard, working together and fighting together. Everybody talks about wanting to go to state. They want to win state. We have those kinds of goals as well, but our goals are to fight for each other, play for each other and do everything you can to not let your teammate down.”

 

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