Softball falls game short of playoff berth


Patrick Johnson

Senior Gabby Guerra slides into home plate on senior night against Mays.

Carolyn Harty

Despite a slow start to the season, the softball team ended its 2022-2023 season fifth in Region 5-AAAAA, finishing 9-9 overall. 

“The season this year was a really fun and exciting one for me, and I really enjoyed getting to know some of the new players and my new coaches,” senior Hanna Palep said.

Palep believes the season was a step up from her junior year. 

“I think that we played much better this year than last year. I feel as though we were much more connected as a team and we supported each other a lot,” Palep said.

Freshman Madison Hull acknowledges the welcoming environment created by teammates and coaches, allowing her first high school season to be a success. 

“I really enjoyed the season, especially as a freshman,” Hull said. “The team was very welcoming and the coaches put us through it, but [they] helped us grow as players. It was like a family.” 

The season started rocky, with the team losing its first two regular season games, 15-0 against region champions Villa Rica, and 8-0 to Chapel Hill. The Knights went on to beat Tri-Cities 24-0 and then lost their next three games. After an 18-2 loss against Chapel Hill, the Knights turned it around, winning seven games in a row. 

“There was a specific game against Chapel Hill, we lost 18-2 and had a lot of errors in that game,” Hull said. “After that, we had a big talk about how we could improve and it really switched, then we started winning again.”

Palep believes the Knights’ success came with time and patience. 

“By about mid-season, myself and the rest of the team became accustomed to the new coaches and to each other and that was when we truly started playing to our fullest potential,” Palep said. “We learned how to rally behind one another and to start having fun, which I think caused us to win more games.” 

Sophomore Megan Bookspun believes playing games was a crucial part to the team’s improvement. 

“We improved by treating our games more like practice, and we’re planning on doing more work in the offseason with workouts and getting better outside of the season,” Bookspun said.

Although the Knights fell short of the year’s playoffs, Palep acknowledges the positives of the season. 

“As a team, we reached our goal of winning more games than ever before at Midtown and we had the highest winning streak ever made before as a softball program [in recent history] as well,” Palep said.

Next year, the team will be losing two crucial seniors, Gabby Guerra and Hannah Palep. Hull thanks Guerra and Palep for their energy.

“[Seniors] definitely made the team better in every aspect, so we are going to suffer from that on the field, but also suffer mentally because they were the sweetest people ever and they really helped us on and off the field and they made it a family,” Hull said. 

Palep reflects on her realization that her high school career was coming to an end. 

“The end of the season was a little hard for me when I realized that the sport I had been playing since I was 5 was not going to be a big part of my life anymore, but I believe that my time with the Midtown softball program was one of the most rewarding experiences I had during high school and I’m happy that I was able to be a part of it, even though my time with the program has come to an end,” Palep said. 

Hull believes improved this season.

“I wanted to grow as a player and as a person and I think my teammates and coaches helped me develop in both,” Hull said. “If you made an error, everyone would pick you up and explain what you did wrong and how you could improve next time. I ended up getting better at hitting and my people skills improved during the season.” 

Bookspun shares a similar experience. 

“I think just getting better in specific parts like batting and fielding as well as getting closer with my teammates were some goals I achieved this season,” Bookspun said.

“I’m looking to improve my pitching and batting, so working in the off season to get those skills to the next level will be very important.” 

The Knights want to continue to improve, win more games and grow as a team next season. Palep leaves feeling optimistic for the program’s future. 

“I had an amazing time playing with this team this season and I hope that they will continue to break records and win more and more games in the years to come,” Palep said.