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Dexter Lady Demons’ dreams derailed

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Jeannie Harris File Photo Dexter first baseman Yajaira Sosa awaits the ball from an infielder last season.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

In my first season on the bench, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had been an assistant baseball coach for the boys’ baseball team. I learned a lot under the baseball coach, Arturo Duran. If that was the only problem, I could handle it, but I was also replacing the legendary Kim Smith, who did nothing but win four straight state titles. I was proud of her and the team. I celebrated them from afar.

There was a lot I had to learn last year about the strategy and how different softball is from baseball — it is a much faster game and involves a coach to be thinking, not only about this play, but the next play. I love it now.

When I took the job, I had to replace some key players who had been instrumental in our championship run. Pitcher Bryana Munoz took a softball scholarship to the University of Texas El Paso, but it wasn’t just her. We had to replace power hitters and winners in Marlou Blankvoort, Allyssa Madden, Dominique Silvas and Kassandra Madrid.

Last season, we struggled in the regular season going 15-16 and hit our stride in the district as we won for the fifth consecutive year, going 8-1. Our young players such as Zoey Stewart, Chelsea Torres, Ana Cereceres, Klarissa Banda, Aryana Munoz, Izela Gutierrez and our lone senior, Yajaira Sosa, among others, stepped up and played Lady Demon softball down the stretch.

This bunch of young ladies knows the tradition established by past teams and expects to play for the state title in softball. It’s been done four years in a row and anything less is not up to Lady Demon standards.

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Our girls not only lost one game in district play but played tough championship softball at state. My team went from losing seven games in a row to ending the season going 12-3 and beating eventual state champion Cobre, 11-6, in the second round of the playoffs.

We ended up losing a tough game to Tularosa, 7-6, in our second game. That was a tough loss for us. I feel like if we could have won that game, we would have ended up in the winners’ bracket. We had to play in the losers’ bracket. I feel in my heart that our girls gave me, Dexter and themselves everything they had. They went out on their shield defending their championship.

I’m so proud of our team, because they went through a rough patch and not one girl quit on the team, they were always encouraging each other and pulled together. We ended up making it to the semifinals and if the ball rolls our way, we have a chance to play for another blue trophy.

Because of the way our season ended, I was looking forward to following the process of trying to get back to the state and taking our chances. I feel bad for the four seniors we are losing. As we go forward in the next year, I want you four seniors: Anayee Carlos, Kayla Aguirre, Chantel Duran and Amaerlis Meraz to never take anything in life for granted. Not your parents, family, friends or anything that you care about.

Seniors, you are finding out the realities of life — that life is not fair and that things happen beyond your control. Know this: Next year when we take the field, we do so with you in our minds and hearts. You will always be Lady Demons, and we will continue to carry on the tradition of Demon softball.

I know personally how it feels to get your senior year cut short. I broke my leg during a football quarterfinal game, but lucky for me, I still was able to go play college ball. Not everyone has that opportunity, but I would like to tell the senior girls to continue to move forward, sports are meant to teach life lessons and as we all know, life is not fair. You just have to roll with the punches and keep trucking forward.

To my younger players, you know the standard — I expect you to work to the best of your abilities to accomplish our goals. When the time comes that we can work out, I expect you to hit the weights and to give me and the program everything you have every time you come to workout and to play.

I am more than blessed to be in the spot I am in, I get to work at a great school, I get to teach wonderful kids that I hope I’m making an impact on their lives in the type of men and women they will be for society and their families.

I’m sure that this has made all coaches realize what is important in life. With that, I’m taking this time to really enjoy and cherish my family, as I do not get this time during “normal” circumstances. As a program, when the dust has settled, we will get right back in the weight room and do what we know best, GRIND!