Say it Loud: Monica has SCC softball team working hard to win
Published 12:02 am Wednesday, March 29, 2017
You have to wonder how Ty Monica has any voice to teach his math classes at St. Charles Catholic.
The longtime coach of the Lady Comets softball team may be diminutive in size, but there is nothing small about his voice.
He likes to shout. OK, he likes to yell. Sometimes he even screams.
Sometimes it’s simple instructions every coach says.
“Keep your eye on the ball.”
“Everybody pay attention.”
“Pick it up.”
Sometimes it’s downright harsh.
“You look like you’re chasing someone at a dance hall.”
“Let’s look like athletes, even if we’re not.”
There is no down time, no idle time, no lollygagging around. Not on Monica’s watch.
He says he’s always been this way, from his first year to this one.
“Absolutely,” said Monica, who is nearly halfway through his 11th season.
“(The older players) would say I’ve gone softer. It’s just my personality. I have a lot of energy.”
And while some might expect a bunch of high school girls to wither under such rebuke, these ladies thrive on it.
“I’ve got a special group of girls in this sense: they love to practice,” said Monica.
“I don’t know what it is. I don’t know exactly what it is they do or I do, but it’s always been like that. It’s almost to the point that they’d rather come to practice than play a game.”
He isn’t kidding.
“Definitely a truth,” said senior first baseman Maddie Cochran. “I love it. It really gives us a chance to come out and improve in our game and to refocus. This past week, it’s been a grind, really.”
Senior outfielder Grace Mohon said practice, despite the grueling pace and Monica’s intensity, is where the team gets its energy.
“We always say we win at practice,” Mohon said.
Whatever the method, it seems to be working.
St. Charles Catholic is consistently one of the better teams in the metro area, having made 15 trips to the State Tournament.
They’ve come home with a championship twice, in ‘98 and ‘08.
Monica has taken them to State nine times.
So when they don’t get there — like last year — it’s devastating.
“It was horrible,” Mohon said.
A few years ago after a team missed the trip to Sulphur, Monica put the compass coordinates for Sulphur on his team’s T-shirts to motivate them to return.
This year he came up with “The R Factor.”
“It means for us to respond to any positives and also any negative aspects throughout the game,” Cochran said.
“I think last year we really expected to go and it really destroyed us that we didn’t.”
This year’s team seems to be just as capable of making the trip, despite the loss of six seniors.
The Lady Comets are 17-3. They had a 12-game win streak until Monday, when they lost 6-5 to Parkview Baptist.
Last Thursday the Lady Comets dispatched St. Mary’s Academy, 15-0, in three innings, taking all of 37 minutes to do so.
They took a little longer to beat Ursuline Academy 11-4. The Comets scored seven runs in the eighth inning.
They also stranded 16 runners that day, giving them 136 over their first 18 games.
Believe it or not, Monica did not raise his voice over that.
“We had a conversation,” he said.
“I really didn’t do any screaming. I was uneasy. It could be the pressure. It could be a lack of focus. It could be the opposing pitchers.”
Getting to Sulphur is, of course, the ultimate goal. Winning district is another.
Last year the team split a pair of games and the district title with arch-nemesis Riverside Academy.
This year the two meet only once, at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Reserve.
Monica said he always thinks his team can play with more energy and that comes from his energy at practice.
“We always want to come out and play with emotion,” he said.
“I think that’s important. We’ve been blessed with good players. That said, they’re great players when they come out and play with a lot of emotion.”
For Monica, it’s not win or go home.
It’s more like practice hard or go home.
“If you’re scared to make a mistake, you can’t play this game,” he hollered as raindrops fell on his players, who never missed a beat.
“If you don’t want to practice, you can go home and eat Twinkies all day.”
Lori Lyons is sports editor at L’OBSERVATEUR. She can be reached at 985-652-9545 or firstname.lastname@example.org.