CLAY CITY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A pep rally, a police escort, and a town painted with “Go Lady Eels” signs, it was a local send off meant for a softball team looking to make school history.
Clay City’s softball team currently has a 23-6 record and are on the cusp of doing what no team has ever done, win a state championship.
Senior Elyssa Secrest says the thought of becoming a champion is an idea that doesn’t feel real.
“It’s just been a dream of mine all season and the time I’ve been in high school. It’s just been amazing, especially doing it with these girls. They’re just hard working, goal oriented girls,” Secrest said.
Players say it was a season that started slowly and was filled with early injuries. However, senior player, Trinity Sankey says her team developed confidence when it mattered most.
“I think once we got everyone back from injuries, we came together. We really put it to some teams that we didn’t expect to run rule them or beat them that bad,” Sankey added. “That gave us a lot of confidence going into the postseason,”
It was postseason that included multiple double digit Lady Eel victories.
Aside from dominant offensive performances, solid fielding, and wins against bigger schools, Head Coach Jason Sinders attributes this team’s success to their chemistry on and off the field.
“They’ve got mojo. Any good teams, they have that, and we got it. They have fun, they congratulate each other, and when somebody is down, they pick them up,” Sinders said. “That’s been the biggest thing for us,”
In a season filled with multiple wins and highlights, a majority of Clay City’s seniors agree one of the season’s defining moments was a victory over Edgewood.
But, Hailey Hofmann says to her, there was no singular moment above the rest.
“There was no defining moment. Every moment was very significant in our journey. Every person, every place played a part in where we are,” the senior player stated.
According to Charly Koehler, a senior Lady Eel, what makes this team dangerous is how well rounded they are.
“We don’t rely on just one person. Everyone steps up when needed and brings something to the table,” Koehler said.
In the midst of a pep band and community cheers, Koehler adds she is just enjoying this moment.
“I don’t think it’ll hit me till after the game, it doesn’t feel real yet. It feels like we’re just playing softball,” Koehler saids.
In agreement is Hofmann, who says the idea of playing for a state championship feels like a dream.
“I haven’t even cried yet. I’ve been so numb, I don’t know how to feel. It’s just crazy. I never thought we would be here today, but I know we can do it,” Hofmann said.
Clay City is scheduled to play Northfield for the Class 1A I.H.S.A.A. State Championship in front of a sold out crowd.