“I know they are nervous,” Fayetteville head coach Chris Sherbert said. “They are in an area that they have never been, so they are going to be nervous. What I hope they can transition to is something that I have been talking to them about this week. We are playing 1A schools. You are not playing the 4 and 5A schools that we played throughout the year and you are not play Saks that’s in Class 3A state championship. We are playing other 1A schools. We are playing are quality 1A schools, but we have played the schedule that we played to get you ready for this. I hope their confidence is to the point where they can go and feel like they can compete. I believe like we can.”
This is the second year in a row that a Fayetteville program has made it into the state tournament. Last season, the baseball team fell in the Class 1A state championship game.
“We have a great baseball program here and these girls support the baseball team,” Sherbert said. “We all support them and they support us. It was nice to be at the athletic banquet (Tuesday) knowing that our season wasn’t over with. It was good to be able to know that we are able to come out here and have a great practice. Like I told the girls, this is our last practice no matter what happens. We are at the end, whether we win it all or don’t. We are not saying we hope we get a chance to practice again; we know this is it. We are hoping we can focus. Like I said the other day, we proved we can get there, now we have to prove we belong.”
The Lady Wolves won four of their six games in the Class 1A Central Regional Tournament to advance to the state tournament. Summer Guy believes that many people thought Fayetteville making a run to the state tournament was improbable.
“It showed people what we were made of,” Guy said. “I don’t even think our own school thought we could make it. When we were playing Wadley, they already had their bags packed because they thought they were going to win in the first few innings. I think that gave us a lot more confidence and that is a big thing that we have gained as a team. I think we have earned a lot of respect from other people, too. I believe if we bring everything we brought into the Regional Tournament we will have a chance to win it.”
Brittany Jones is elated about being a senior captain on this historic Fayetteville team.
“I am excited,” Jones said. “This is the first time. It is definitely overwhelming that this is what I get to leave behind. It is great to know that I was apart of the group that made history.”
Taking responsibility and having team meetings before games played a major factor in the Lady Wolves success in the Regional Tournament. Amanda Harbin said those meetings helped them play some of the best softball of the season.
“I learned that once we come together and act like the team I know we can be that when we are at our best,” Harbin said. “When we are talking it up in the dugout, supporting each other and giving each other the positive attitudes that we need is when we play our best.”
Senior Mandolin Parrett pitched one of her best games of the season to eliminate Wadley out the tournament.
“I think I stepped it up, because I asked coach to put me on the mound,” Parrett said. “I had a feeling to come over me and I felt like I needed to pitch so I asked him. I went out there, prayed that I do my best and we ended up winning that game.”
Freshman Hailey Haynes admitted she almost got emotional after finally getting past Wadley after four tries this season.
“It was an amazing feeling,” Haynes said. “We haven’t beat Wadley all year and that is the main thing that I wanted to do. Once we beat them, I was so overjoyed I was tearing up. Then, we went on and I had faith in my team and I knew we were going to go to state.”
Payton Dennis said she enjoyed the recognition by her classmates this week.
“They were all congratulating us and that felt really good,” Dennis said. “We really don’t get that this much, because we are a girls sport. It felt really good. They were patting us on the back and telling us good luck. That made me feel pretty good and I am pretty sure it made the other girls feel good.”
The Lady Wolves take on ninth ranked Athens Bible today. Athens Bible won the Class 1A North Regional Tournament to advance to the state tournament.
“They have a good record,” Sherbert said. “They finished the year No.3 in the state. They played some quality schools like we have. They are going to be a quality opponent.”
Sherbert said the Lady Wolves have to do three things to be successful in the state tournament.
“We have to make the routine plays when the ball is hit,” Sherbert said. “We have to stay off chest strikes. Those are the strikes right about chest level; we have to lay off that until we get two strikes on us. We can’t make the bone-headed base running mistakes. We had some in the Regional Tournament. We worked on it Monday so when we are in the scenario we will try to eliminate the bone-headed mistakes. We are going to be facing some quality pitching and if we get a base runner, we have to treat it like gold. We are going to have to get the base runner around and get that run scored.”