By Mike Bruu, TSB Staff
Expectations have never been higher around the softball program at McKinney Boyd High School than they are right now heading into the heart of District 10-5A play next week.
“I definitely believe that we are going to be district champs,” says Maureen Fritz, the head coach of the Lady Broncos and in her third year with the program. “I mean, that is our goal and I ultimately believe we are going to be the power that takes it this year, and from there we are going on to playoffs.”
After a 2011 campaign that saw Boyd make it one round deep in the postseason before losing in a one-game playoff to Belton High School, the Lady Broncos have come out of the gates in 2012 on a mission to not only take a hold of the district, but to carry that momentum into a deep playoff push.
“Our ultimate goal is to go deeper into playoffs and keep focusing on one thing at a time, one hit at a time, one pitch at a time,” says Fritz. “The team has grown; this is my third year with them and it is definitely a huge difference, and I think we are definitely setting a precedent here of a tradition with Boyd softball.”
The Lady Broncos jumped out to a 10-4-1 start through the team’s first 15 games, including a 10-0 victory against district rival Garland Lakeview Centennial on Tuesday, largely in part to the players ability to get on base and manufacture runs off of quality pitching. When asked who was contributing the most to the teams early season success, Fritz had a couple quality slappers in the top of the lineup worth mentioning.
“Obviously Sam Stockford with her bat right now,” she said. “[Miranda] McDonald is just doing an amazing job with her on base percentage in that one hole, which is huge for us. And I mean Cassandra Heller, that kid has been doing an awesome job. So those running slappers have been doing an awesome job of getting hits, making things happen and scoring.”
Through the first three games of the MISD Invitational Boyd is 3-0 after defeating Burkburnett and Carrollton Creekview 3-0 and 5-1, respectively, on Thursday, then knocking off Flower Mound Marcus 9-5 Friday afternoon. Even with these three victories, Fritz applauds the consistency of her players more than just a ‘W’ on the scoreboard.
“I’m excited; the girls are playing consistent and that’s one of our goals,” Fritz said, “like it is with every team. It has been huge though. I think we’ve been consistent for maybe three weeks now, just doing the little things.”
Like almost every team during tournament play, the Lady Broncos are using these games to analyze different lineup cards and examine various position battles, which Fritz and the rest of the team believes gives them an advantage down the stretch.
“We are still mixing up lineups and changing things around. We are still looking for ‘who’s going to be here’ or ‘what’s the lineup going to be’ and some kids are definitely a lock in some positions, but you’re still evaluating every game,” says Fritz. “I will say that it is fun; I have a lot of versatility and exciting kids that have a good time, and they learn from situations.”
After watching the Lady Broncos Friday afternoon against Flower Mound Marcus, there is no doubt this team is ready for a strong playoff push in 2012. The players bring a ton of energy onto the field, which always gives you a chance to win on a nightly basis. In terms of defense, instead of trying to always make the difficult catch or throw, they make the smart plays to get outs to avoid disastrous innings. This may be the most complete roster that Fritz and the Lady Broncos have had in the programs six years of existence, which is great for McKinney Boyd and the rest of the community.
Boyd continues its district grind with a home matchup with Garland Naaman Forest on Monday afternoon at Bronco Field. Below is the entire district schedule for the Lady Broncos.
Date: Team (Time)
February 28th: vs. Garland Lakeview Centennial (WON 10-0)
March 5th: vs. Garland Naaman Forest (4)
March 12th: @ South Garland (10 a.m.)
March 14th: vs. Rowlett (10 a.m.)
March 20th: vs. Sachse (5)
March 23rd: @ Garland (4)
March 27th: vs. North Garland (5)
March 30th: @ Garland Lakeview Centennial (4)
April 3rd: @ Rowlett (4)
April 5th: @ Garland Naaman Forest (4)
April 10th: vs. South Garland (5)
April 13th: @ Sachse (4)
April 17th: vs. Garland (5)
April 20th: @ North Garland (4)
Editor’s Note: If you missed the McKinney High softball preview, click here. The McKinney North preview is coming Sunday. Watch for it!