Opinion: Remember the good
So often in sports a season is defined by how it ends.
For example, the Indianapolis Colts made a serious run at an undefeated season last year and set a number of team and individual records, yet much of that was forgotten after they lost their first playoff game to the Steelers.
Hopefully the same won't happen with this year's Basehor-Linwood softball team.
Yes, it was disappointing to see the Lady 'Cats bow out in the first round of the playoffs Monday, but it shouldn't wipe away all the good things that happened this season.
For starters, BLHS finished 12-9, not as good as last year, but still the best record of any team at the school. That's something the girls can be proud of.
Also they can take heart in the fact that they never gave up, stringing together late-inning hits in the clutch rallies that have become a staple of the program.
There was an early-season contest against Mill Valley in which they came back and won in extra innings after being pushed around by the Jaguars for the better part of two games. In the last week of the season there was another seventh-inning rally against Lansing that forced extra-innings. Although the Lady 'Cats couldn't finish that comeback, they provided plenty of excitement.
Even on Monday, down 4-1 going into the final inning against a Piper team that had shut down their offense all night, the Bobcats didn't quit.
Two batters scraped their way on base to give the team one last chance to get the tying run to the plate. If you can battle like that time and again in the late innings, good things are going to happen for your team.
A key part of the Bobcats' late-inning success this year that shouldn't be forgotten was the emergence of freshman Annie King as a clutch hitter.
On three separate occasions this season, King came through with base hits when the Bobcats were one out away from losing. That kind of production out of a No. 9 hitter is rare. Throw in the fact that she's a freshman and it's almost unheard of.
Of course, most of those clutch situations wouldn't have even come about without the pitching of Kristal Holland.
Holland is a senior and that's certainly one of the reasons Monday's loss was so hard on the Lady 'Cats. After all their captain had done for them, they didn't want to see her go out like that.
But not to worry. Holland has had her glory days.
She's had countless strikeouts, win after win, and she's been to the state tournament, something a lot of really good athletes never get to experience.
The fact that her career didn't end at state doesn't make it any less impressive. Just ask the Bonner Springs Bravettes, who, just a couple weeks ago, couldn't get a single base runner against her.
Holland's legacy in BLHS softball will live on long after she's struck out her first batter at Central Missouri State.
There's a whole lot of young Bobcats returning to the field next year who will have learned how to compete with passion and perseverance under her leadership.
With every game they win they'll owe a small piece of that victory to her.