Granite Hills’ softball squad finds their swing

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Some years everything just comes together. That seems to be the case for Granite Hills’ softball team, whose sturdy seniors and lively freshmen are pulling together quite a season.

The Eagles (17-6-1) are currently undefeated in league (4-0) and have all the elements of a winning season ahead of them. 

Co-captain Halle Kyler said, for the seniors, this season is the culmination of a several-year journey the Lady Eagles have shared.

Some years everything just comes together. That seems to be the case for Granite Hills’ softball team, whose sturdy seniors and lively freshmen are pulling together quite a season.

The Eagles (17-6-1) are currently undefeated in league (4-0) and have all the elements of a winning season ahead of them. 

Co-captain Halle Kyler said, for the seniors, this season is the culmination of a several-year journey the Lady Eagles have shared.

“We’ve been playing together since we were younger and we’ve progressed ever since,” said Kyler. “This is our year.”

Although the Eagles placed second and third in Division II playoffs in the last two years, Kyler said she feels like the team has finally found the magic formula of peak performance and powerful players.

“We had the potential to be this good last year, we just needed to learn how to work together,” she said. “We have different chemistry this year — new girls, freshmen.”

Head coach Curtis Barnes said the dynamic of having steady leadership from the veterans and youthful energy from the new recruits has been a killer combination.

“We have a good core group of five seniors,” he said. “They’re out there taking care of business, they’re like leaders on the field. So that’s been key, having those seniors. And then we had a good group of five freshmen come in and bring a new energy and new life to the team.”

There are still a number of contenders in conference that the Eagles will have to beat before they can lay their hands on the league trophy. Steele Canyon (3-1) and West Hills (2-2) always put up a good fight and Santana (2-2) has beaten Granite once already this year in a non-conference game.

“I’m hoping that we stay focused and keep improving on what we’re doing now,” said Barnes. “We want to win league and the ultimate goal is to go undefeated, that would be icing on the cake.”

Defensively, the Eagles are very sturdy, said Barnes, with strong pitching and fielding making up for somewhat unpredictable batting.

“Pitching has really carried us,” he said. “Our defense has been strong and we’re getting some of those really timely hits when we need them. We don’t have a really explosive offense all the time, but we’ve been getting enough runs and our pitching has kept us in the game, kept scores low.”

Because of their previous successes in Division II, the Eagles were moved up to Division I this season. Barnes said there is a chance they might even play Open Division playoffs, which would present its own set of challenges for the Lady Eagles.

“There’s some solid teams there,” he said. “That would be really tough for us. We’ll battle. I think we can play with any of them, but all those teams in the top eight or top ten, they’re all really strong teams.”

This year’s hopes are certainly build on a foundation of previous seasons’ successes, but Barnes said every play, every game, every season is really up to the girls on the team rather than on pure momentum or a persistent coaching staff.

“You get a good group that comes in and you’re up — you get a bad group and you’re down,” he said. “It’s not us, it’s definitely the girls.”

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