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With only nine days left in the regular season, Ballard’s third-ranked softball team is preparing for postseason play, and has their sights on possibly knocking Male off their throne.
The Bruins saw their 18-game winning streak end Tuesday night with a heartbreaking 5-3 loss to No. 4 Male, but got back on the winning track with a 13-11 comeback win over No. 21 Assumption Wednesday night.
It’s a good test for the Bruins considering if they end up on the same side of the bracket with Male, the possibility of having to play those two teams on back-to-back nights is real.
We caught up with head coach Alan Jones after their win over Assumption.
How big was the victory over No. 1 Scott County?
“Ever since we beat Scott County, we haven’t been able to get refocused. We have to understand that these are just practice games. The Scott County game is over. It was a practice game and it means nothing. Big deal, you beat the No. 1 team in the state, but you’re going home if you can’t win your region. I think we need to go back to the basics and start practicing better and we will. This weekend we have a big tournament at the Best of the West. We’ll be fine. I have been at Ballard since 1999 and this is every bit of a good a team as I have had. They’ll get back to where they need to be.”
How does playing Male and Assumption on back-to-back days prepare your team for regionals?
“Our region is the toughest region in the state and always will be. We have a lot of teams that can win this thing in the Seventh Region. All we need to do is worry about ourselves. Male is good, Eastern is good, Assumption is good, Manual is good. We know any of those teams can send us home.”
What is it going to take to win the Seventh Region?
“This team has surprised me honestly. I know we have seven seniors. But, we had a bad loss in our first game and we went back to work. We had some rain-outs and some snow-outs. A loss is good. My dad always said you never learn from a win, now we learn from the win against Assumption because you have to come ready to go. In a loss you can learn what you did wrong. In our two losses you have to make the plays they give you and we didn’t. But, Male is a good team, Assumption, Eastern, and Manual are good teams. They’re all tough. But, we have to worry about Ballard and go back to the basics and we will be fine.”
Who do you expect to lead as the regular season winds down and postseason play starts in less than two weeks?
The seniors do a good with leadership. Alivia (Sinnott) and Shelby (Kelley) do a good job and so does (sophomore) Allie (Skaggs), but we really don’t have one leader. Somebody has to step up every night. The key to us is starting to get those freshmen to hit the ball. They’re getting better and better and it’s tough for a freshman to start for us with this kind of schedule. We are scheduling some tough teams and they came through in the win against Assumption.”