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Central Softball reflects after magical run to 2021 WHSAA State Tournament Championship

Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 12:52 AM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Despite being the “last team in” from the East Conference, Central Softball turned some heads in the first-ever WHSAA State Softball Tournament.

“I kept telling them that they’re giving me gray hairs because we make it so close,” said Central Head Softball Coach Carrie Barker. “But it was such a great weekend, we proved to a lot of people that we are a talented group of athletes.”

The Lady Indians won three straight games to start the tournament, clinching a spot in the state championship game. The girls played Kelly Walsh, East, and Campbell County (played Lady Camels three times; once in the state semifinals and twice in Games 1 and 2 of the state championship) in a tournament that brought much of the Wyoming softball world to Gillette. This allowed for old club softball friendships to be rekindled and new ones to be made.

“I like competing against people that I know because it calms me down in a way because I know what to expect and I know what I need to do to make things happen,” said Central Senior Jayden Gashler.

The Lady Indians season came to a conclusion in the last possible game of the year. The team qualified for the state championship after its three straight victories and fell 14-11 and 14-9 in Games 1 and 2 off the state title game. Game 2 was required because the WHSAA State Softball Tournament is designed in a double-elimination format and therefore the Tribe could not be eliminated after their first loss of the tourney in Game 1.

“Even if we took second, I still had a great time with my teammates [and] the coaches. We made bonds, played great games. So it was really fun,” said Central Junior Brogan Allen.

Taking a look at the year as a whole, there were obvious growing pains for Central Softball in this inaugural season of sanctioned Wyoming High Softball, as two of the team’s first three conference games were lost by 10 or more runs. But now the goal has to be about setting the program on the right path for the future.

Apparently, this first season was huge for that.

“Even with this being the first season and kind of getting our feet wet or whatever we kind of understand the [dynamic of it],” said Central Junior Lauren Lucas. “I mean, obviously none of us had ever played softball through high school because it hadn’t been available to us. So now we can sort of understand more of the dynamic of that.”

The Lady Indians were the only Southeastern Wyoming team to advance to a state tournament championship this Spring.

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