Waynesville softball finishes regular season undefeated

May 30—Waynesville Middle School softball went on a tear this year — going undefeated in the regular season and not losing a match until the conference championship game.

"It's really special for the girls. It hasn't happened in a while," Waynesville coach Stan Arrington said. "I'm excited for the girls."

Arrington, who has years of softball coaching experience, coached alongside head coach Julianne Bell, who was in her first year as the team's coach.

"It worked out great. We had youth and experience and it blended to make a winning formula," Arrington said. "It fell right into place. There was never a bumping of heads."

Arrington said that the blending of styles was a perfect match and helped lead to the Mounties' success this year.

"She (Coach Bell) did a great job. She handled all of the uniforms, the practice schedules, the texting — I don't do that. She did all of that. I admire her for everything she did. That's hard. I couldn't have done it," Arrington said. "She did the job of two coaches. She really did."

The team held a perfect record at the end of the regular season. That included a sweep of Macon County — the first time Waynesville has taken down the team.

"Both games against Macon County were big," Arrington said. "They're the team to beat every year. Beating them both times in the regular season was big."

The win was a little sweeter for the Mounties players.

"I told them if they won, I'd buy them all ice cream," Arrington said. "We had an ice cream truck come to practice and they were able to get whatever they wanted off of the truck. They got rewarded."

A big key to the Waynesville success was the experience of the team.

"We had experienced girls," Arrington said. "We had some eighth graders who have played up here for three girls."

While the team did have a lot of experience, that doesn't mean the pressure of an undefeated regular season wasn't felt by the players late in the year.

"I think they were feeling pressure towards the end," Arrington said. "I think they thought about it. I don't think the coaches did. We're supposed to take each game one at a time and we did. When you think you're going to beat someone, that's when you almost get beat. That happened to us one time."

While the team was experienced, they also had a lot of young players — including a few sixth graders who saw playing time.

"They oughta be excited," Arrington said. "They'll have something to work with. I think there are some younger girls in the rec league that can play. If they work hard, they can make the team and help the team."

Ultimately, Waynesville fell in the championship game.

"The girls really wanted it at the end, and they deserve it," Arrington said.

While the Mounties didn't grab the championship game victory against Macon County, Waynesville Middle still put together a championship-caliber season.

"To win 12 out of 13, we had the best record — I think we're the champions," Arrington said. "It's just a tournament. I think winning the regular season is harder because we have to go on the road and play at their home fields. You've got to be more consistent. Winning the whole season, to me, is a lot bigger than winning the tournament."

The team will be sending a few players up to the high school level next year. Arrington said the group should fit in perfectly on The Hill at Tuscola.

"They'll do well," he said. "There's some real good players that are going up. If they all stick with it, Tuscola should be fine for the next four years. They've got some talented girls coming."