By Mike Moore
Parma — When it comes to having the tools in place, well, Tonya Bassett and her Western softball team can put a big fat check mark in that column.
Now, as the state playoffs quickly approach, it’s up to the Panthers to make the most of their opportunity.
“It’s on us to put everything together,” Bassett said. “That’s the key this time of year.”
As of Wednesday, Western was 28-4 overall and had clinched a share of the conference title with Coldwater after going 12-2.
The team has one doubleheader remaining against Napoleon Thursday before kicking off district play June 4 against Northwest.
And that’s when the real fun begins.
“You have to find a way to play errorless softball, pitch and hit,” Bassett said. “We hope to go on a little run here.”
Playing errorless maybe asking a lot, and the team’s hitting has been somewhat up and down all year.
But the pitching is where the Panthers can flex some muscle.
Taylor Nicols and Kortney Jones have been lights out all spring.
Nicols is coming off a 17-strikeout performance Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader against Mason.
In the second game, Jones struck out 11.
That’s going to be one of our strongest tools moving forward,” Bassett said of her tandem.
The pair will have to be effective if Western wants to move past June 4.
The Panthers split with Northwest this season, and should they get to the district final, a solid Eaton Rapids team will likely be waiting.
But when it comes to the postseason in softball and baseball, pitching is king.
“Pitching and defense,” Bassett added. “We’ve been doing all the little things right for a while. Now it’s time to put it all together and see where it takes us.”
Mike Moore is a play-by-play commentator and Sports Writer for JTV Sports. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s also the author of ‘Love, Defined; A Dedication to the Love, Sacrifice, and Magic of Motherhood.’
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