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Lady Comets’ season goes from controversy to championship

Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / May 6, 1998

ALEXANDRIA – Coaches preach and preach teamwork and discipline as the key to win championships.

Saturday evening, the St. Charles catholic Lady Comets softball teamproved that teamwork and discipline are indeed ingredients needed in order to capture a state title.

A season that began with controversy and uncertainty ended with the Lady Comets piling on each other in celebration of their Class 2A state championship game victory over Riverside.

“It is an undescribable feeling,” Casey Faust, one of three seniors on the team, said.

The season began with the team having to replaced more players than what was originally thought. Then came the process of finding the right positionfor each player.

“We were doing a lot of moving people around, trying to find the right mix,” coach Teri Hruska said.

Then came the end of the basketball season and the fitting in of those players into the lineup. Toward the middle of the season, the look of theteam began to come into focus, although changes were still being made right up until the time of the playoffs.

A 6-0 loss to Riverside ended the district season with the Lady Comets finishing with an 8-2 record, two games behind the Lady Rebels. The LadyComets still had non-district games left against Lutcher, Covington and St. John of Plaquemine to prepare for the playoffs.Sometime during that week, something clicked.

“After district was over, all of the team members accepted their role,” Hruska said. “It takes 19 players to win. They all have a role. I believeduring that week, all accepted that role.”The Lady Comets would not lose again. Victories against Buras andLoranger allowed St. Charles Catholic to move into the state softballtournament in Alexandria. Once there, the Lady Comets started doing thelittle extra things.

“Once the playoffs started, we started seeing exceptional plays,” Hruska said. “We started seeing them do the little extras. That was the result ofaccepting their roles and playing together as a team.”Staying together the night before the tournament helped the team come even closer together.

“We were closer than usual,” Kristin Oberschmidt, another senior, said.

“That is what gave me the feeling we were going to win.”Senior catcher Kori Guillory said before the final game that she believed the team could win as the playoffs started.

“We came together and played more as a team,” Guillory said, adding that teamwork and everybody working together were the keys for the team reaching that point.

The team was at the tournament to win but also had fun doing so.

“We talked and communicated and stuck together though everything,” starting pitcher Marci Martin said. “We knew we had to take it one step ata time, to play as hard as we can play. We knew if we lost, if we playedthe best we could play, it was a victory.”Which was exactly the sentiments of her coach.

“I asked the girls to go out and play the game of their lives every game,” Hruska said. “Whatever happens, happens and they responded every time.When we played Riverside, they had to give the game of their lives and that was the game of their lives.”Hruska related her experience of playing for a state championship as a player to the team but said this was a more rewarding feeling.

“I am so proud of this team,” Hruska said. “It was more fulfilling thanwinning it as a player. You understand what it takes to do it and you makethem understand. It is like being a teacher and that is what makes it morefulfilling.”The Comets lose three seniors – Guillory, Oberschmidt and Faust – but Hruska said the experience of playing in the tournament will continue to help the team in the years to come.

“Once the euphoria wears off, it will have a lasting effect,” Hruska said.

“We did it as a team and you can’t play team sports any other way. Theyknow now what it takes. I told them this will be the best thing you haveever done in your life to date if you do this. It will stay one of thegreatest accomplishments in your life forever. It will never go away.”

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