The Glenn softball program has grown by leaps and bounds.
In their first year of existence, the Grizzlies didn’t win a district game. In year two, they just made the playoffs and lost in the first round. It was after that loss to end last season that the buy-in really happened.
Glenn won its first-ever District 17-5A title this season with an 11-1 record, one game better than Cedar Park, and open the playoffs with a winner-take-all, bi-district round game against Bastrop Thursday at 7 p.m. at home.
“Last year we wanted to make playoffs. As a whole school we all wanted to be on that page,” Grizzlies head coach Marissa Guzman said. “This year, we wanted to kind of separate in the sense that we didn’t want to just be in playoffs, we wanted to go as far as we can.”
This year’s squad is a mix of girls that are vocal on and off the field and those that are quieter and lead by example. There are three freshman and two sophomores in the regular in the starting lineup while senior Allie Richardson has locked down the hot corner.
Richardson and outfielder Tyler Cole have been through the worst of the times and now the best of times, and it’s the group of juniors and seniors that have helped lead the pack this season.
“They don’t just play well on the field, but they play with heart,” sophomore Emily Berryhill said. “We played for them all year. It’s the first senior class and we wanted to go all out for them because they’re never really going to experience this again. We want to make it the best for them."
The underclassmen have been key contributors to the Grizzlies’ success as well.
Freshman pitcher Rileigh Harris has joined Jolene Weaver to give Glenn a pair of top-level starters that further boost the team’s confidence.
Guzman said Berryhill controls the infield and fellow sophomore Taysia Tate controls the outfield. And while Tate isn’t always the loudest player, she’s always going all out whether coaches are watching or not.
“Our team is more mature from last year,” Tate said. “Everyone has stepped their game up and we’ll all together more. Our upperclassmen and our pitchers have gotten better from year to year and our infield is even more solid.”
Many players on the Glenn softball team play other sports for the Grizzlies, so one of the biggest questions Guzman had was whether everyone would come together when softball was the only sport to focus on.
The Grizzlies were determined all during the regular season to leave no doubt that they belong in Class 5A. They more than proved that point.
“I hoped for it and I knew the talent we had,” Guzman said. “Since the offseason, they already had it in their minds that this was what they wanted to do. This is the kind of culture we want at Glenn and it’s the kind of culture we want in our athletic department. To see the kids put their money where their mouth is nice to see.”
Glenn and Bastrop faced off earlier this season, with the Grizzlies winning 2-0 during tournament play.
The mindset for Berryhill and the team is still to go hard, but after last season’s postseason experience and everything they’ve proved to themselves and the rest of the district this year, the Grizzlies are a little less timid.
“We’ve had lots of game where we’ve been down or we had a lot of errors in an inning and it turned into a bit of a mess and our team just kept going knowing that it was just one inning,” Berryhill said. “The coaches were picking us up and the team does a good job of picking each other up. We did a lot better at that this year.”