Finish strong

Audi Dendy, from left, Yasmeen Cooper, Whitney Crawford and Avery Springer show the championship rings they received after the Lady Toppers won the 4A state title in May 2012. (Courtesy Photo)

Audi Dendy, from left, Yasmeen Cooper, Whitney Crawford and Avery Springer show the championship rings they received after the Lady Toppers won the 4A state title in May 2012.
(Courtesy Photo)

By Avery Springer

 Special to the Chickasaw Journal

HOUSTON – In July of 2004, a group of sweaty, round-faced little girls stepped offf a softball field undefeated, proud and confident.

We were World Series champions and a little cocky to say the least. I though we had conqured the world. Little did I know at that time what a large part of my life softball would consume over the next ten years.

we have traveled all over Mississippi and the surrounding states having a ball while playing the game we love. We have had various team names such as Diamond Bratz, Little Sluggers, Houston All-Stars and eventually Houston Heat, but no matter what the name, everyone knew Houston came to play and usually win.

Over the course of these years we have a resume which includes eight State titles, four World Series championship and have accumulated more wins in tournaments and single game than I can remember. We have made a lot of friends and maybe even a few enemies.

Since entering the seventh grade and beginning to play high school ball, it was always a spoken goal of ours that we would win a fast-itch high school State Championship one day. We wanted the rings!

We came really close several times only to fall short of that championship game. Time was running out, so in 2012 when we started compiling a lot of victories, we began to think this might be our year. By the time play-offs rolled around we had only one defeat which was to New Hope, a strong 5A contender.

We began to believe more than ever this was our time. I even opened my big mouth during a television interview and announced this was our year. No more runners-up!

The pressure was on, but that’s when we seem to play our best. Somehow though sheer will, determination and most importantly, God’s grace, in 2012 we hugged the infield as we celebrated our long awaited dream. With a record of 34-2, we weren’t perfect, but we were State Champions.

All the hours of hard work had paid off. You could say we accomplished our dream, but it’s a lot more special than that. Yeah, we got those big rings we always wanted, but we also made memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.

We have six players from our original 2004 and eight starters returning from our state championship team this year. Losing our senior pitcher leaves a big hole to fill, so I’m not going to promise another state championship, but I will make this promise. I promise that when a team plays Houston, they will be playing a team that leaves it all on the field. A team that comes to win and expects to win every time we step on the field.

Do we think we can win another state championship?

Of course we do.

We are just a larger version of those same confident eigth-year-olds that played ten years ago.

So bring on the competition and let’s finish strong Lady Toppers of 2013!

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