If the Highland Park softball program was a living, breathing entity, it would be 21 years old this spring. And perhaps a little champagne would be appropriate to celebrate.
After all, it’s been a long road to the playoffs for the Lady Scots, who will make their postseason debut tonight when they host Irving in the opener of a Class 6A Region II bi-district series.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series will be Friday at Irving, as will Game 3 on Saturday, if necessary. The winner will likely face powerhouse Rockwall next week in the area round.
After all, while earning a playoff berth is nice — and so is playing into May for the first time — HP players and coaches know they’ve put in too much hard work to be satisfied now.
It’s been only five years since head coach Meredith Townsend took over, when the Lady Scots had just 10 players in the program. Before she could teach skills and win games, she had to just fill out the roster.
However, the victory total for HP has steadily increased every year since. Last spring, the Lady Scots posted a winning record for the first time, and narrowly missed a postseason spot in their final season in Class 4A.
This year, with a lineup that featured returnees at almost every position, HP made a successful 6A debut in by finishing second in District 10-6A. The Lady Scots (13-11) were the only team in the league to upset district champion Mesquite.
Junior pitcher Katie Bell, in her third season as the starter for HP, is among the area leaders in innings pitched, victories, and strikeouts. The lefthander also is among the hitting leaders for HP along with Rennie Orr and Kate Hodges.
The Lady Tigers (14-7) finished third in a rather weak District 9-6A during the regular season behind Irving ISD rivals MacArthur and Nimitz. Madison Goodman leads an Irving offense that scored double-digit runs 10 times this season.