No matter what happens in this week’s Class 3A softball tournament in Manhattan, the Thomas More Prep-Marian softball senior class can already consider their high school careers a success after reaching state for a third straight year.
But after losing in the first round of the tournament the last two years, the Monarchs aren't satisfied with just making the tourney.
“It’s a big thing to be able to say that you went (to state) three out of your four years in high school,” TMP coach Melissa Schoepf said. “That’s something they’re going to get to carry on. But at the same time, they know they have unfinished business there. They know this is their last go at this and they got to be ready to go.
“I know they’re excited to get out there and play and see what they can do in this.”
TMP (18-5) earned the No. 5 seed in the tournament and will face No. 4-seeded Oskaloosa (20-3) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Twin Oaks Complex.
Schoepf said she hopes TMP’s previous experience at state will pay off.
“They were sophomores the first year that they made it,” Schoepf said of her seniors. “And it’s just kind of nice to get out there and see what it’s all about and see the level of competition that’s going to be there.
“You know you’re going to get the best of the best at this point. They know what they have to do to get through this tournament.”
The Monarchs who are led by seniors Bailey Lacy, Brianna Romme, Anna Gottschalk and Ciara Seib, advanced out of regionals with a 10-0 win over Sublette in the semifinal and a 8-1 victory over Colby in the final at Goodand.
Oskaloosa advanced to state with a 12-11 eight-inning win over Perry-Lecompton in the regional final.
“We’re definitely going to have to put the ball in play and adjust to the pitches,” Schoepf said. “We have to find a way to be able to get on base and be able to execute once we get on base. Defensively we have to find a way to minimize the errors. The team that makes the least amount of errors, mental and physical errors, is going to be the winner of this game."