The Glenn softball team has been part of the packed crowd that lined the hallways as team after team printed playoff shirts and got a sendoff on their way to the postseason games this year.
Now it’s their turn.
The Lady Grizzlies are the latest team to make the playoffs for the first time in the school’s two-year history as they prepare to take on La Grange in the first round Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in Taylor.
“I looked at a couple of my teammates and said, ‘We’re going to make playoffs,’” freshman Emily Berryhill said. “We’re going to wear those shirts and we’re going to get a sendoff. We all really wanted it and wanted to be known as the first softball team to do it.”
Glenn embraced the pressure to be the next team to make the playoffs, finishing the district schedule 6-6 and 23-11 overall this season. With a team full of freshmen and sophomores, the Lady Grizzlies finished last year 0-12 in district play and 6-24 overall.
This season, the losses were motivation whereas last year losses were a discouragement.
“Instead of being scared to play, they’re ready to play and they want to go and get it,” head coach Marissa Guzman said. “Last year, it took a week or two to recuperate after a loss and in that there was another loss and it felt like it would snowball. This year, Wednesday practices tend to be our best. That’s when they’re the most determined.”
Guzman knew her team had a good shot at making the playoffs as early as February when Glenn beat Vandegrift 13-8 and followed that up with a 7-3 win against Weiss a couple weeks later.
Berryhill remembers after the Lady Grizzlies scored five runs in the eighth inning to beat Taylor 13-8 to win their first district game ever, everybody on the team just jumping around and going crazy.
Glenn won three more district games before facing off with the Lady Ducks in the second round of district play. This time, the Lady Grizzlies scored six runs in the bottom of the seventh to win 9-8.
“I think (the season turned) right around when the second part of district started,” sophomore Jolene Weaver said. “We set goals at the beginning of the season and we started hitting them. Right in the middle of the district, that’s when we realized we could do this.”
Weaver transferred to Glenn from Leander three weeks into the school year and, because of UIL rules, wasn’t permitted to play softball. She still stayed with the team and kept stats and said it’s good to see their hard work pay off.
Glenn will be moving up to Class 5A next season and join the like of Cedar Park and Rouse. While most schools might be nervous to move up and face bigger competition, Guzman said her team is “stoked.”
Glenn was opened before last year and combined students from mainly Rouse and Leander. The result is a laid-back group that knows how to turn up the intensity while still laughing with each other.
“It’s like family,” freshman Taysia Tate said. “Everyone feels right at home.”
On the field, La Grange is no joke. The Lady Leopards won the state title in 2016 and made it to the second round last year after finishing district play with a perfect record. They finished 7-1 in district play, their first district season with a loss since 2010.
But that doesn’t dampen the spirits at Glenn.
“I just want them to go and compete,” Guzman said. “I’ve got volleyball girls and basketball girls that have experienced what the playoffs are like. La Grange is a great program but they tie their shoes the same way we tie ours.”