After having their 2020 season cut short, the Huntsville Lady Hornets are looking to make up for lost time.
The Huntsville softball team is set to face another school for the first time since last March this weekend, with a tri-scrimmage at Conroe High School scheduled for Saturday.
Given the extended layoff, which started during spring break last year as COVID-19 cases began to surge, the Lady Hornets are anxious to get back on the field.
“It's that 'finally' aspect of things,” Huntsville head coach Morgan Bryan said. “They've been locked up with quarantine and had the never-ending spring break with COVID, and it kind of took their season. I still feel for my seniors that lost their season, but what we're trying to do is get redemption for those seniors that couldn't finish out their senior year and start on a really good note.
“I know my kids are really excited to be back on the field. They've been working hard every single day, and I'm just excited to see them play and see what they're going to do with the potential I know they have.”
The Lady Hornets will look to keep building off a program turnaround that started during Bryan’s first season in 2018, when they reached the playoffs a year removed from going 1-15 in district play.
Huntsville loses five seniors from last year, four of which signed letters of intent to play softball at the collegiate level, leaving several holes to fill. With a ‘relentless’ mix of newcomers and returners, however, the coach is optimistic about the team’s outlook for the season.
“The word we're using this year to break out on and everything is relentless, and I think that really encompasses my team,” she said. “A lot of people will look at us, and we have varying sizes and ages, but they don't give up. Don't ever count them out, because they are very much fighters right now. If you give them an adverse situation, they fight hard with each other and work well as a team.”
Huntsville brings back seven players from last season, including four seniors — Kenley Strange, Kylee Lehman, Kylie Grisham and Kylie Woods. With several new faces set to join these proven returners, Bryan is looking for her team to develop its identity in the coming weeks.
“I just want to see everything come together as a team,” she said. “I want to see the identity start to show for my team, because we haven't been tested yet. It's been a year since we've been off the field and we have all these new faces that we're adding into our lineup, and I'd like to see them make their own identity for themselves.”
Huntsville's season opener is scheduled for Feb. 16 at A&M Consolidated.