Thomas Jefferson

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The Road to Playoffs

Posted 11/02/2015 by Paula Mortel

The Lady Spartans had a strong season. photo by Adna Adrovic

The TJ softball team experienced a successful season leading to playoffs.

TJ’s Varsity Girls’ Softball team experienced a victorious season, allowing them to have the opportunity to play in the playoffs. Over the past few weeks, the Lady Spartans have competed against many rival schools, fighting hard to be one of the top teams. They gained a record of 12 wins and 7 losses. Through hard work and determination, the team prepared to conquer the last few games prior to playoffs.

Although several talented players graduated last year, this highly skilled group of nine individuals continued to carry on the team’s streak of successes, including senior Blaise Hokkanen. “This season was great,” said Hokkanen. “We all learned and were able to grow together as athletes and also as human beings, which was really great and helped with our chemistry.” Sophomore Zoya Robbins explained, “This season ultimately made me a stronger player. We’ve won games we did not think we were going to win. We’ve cried a lot, but smiled even more.”

TJ’s softball team swung into action this season and gained several accomplishments. The team defeated Evergreen, a team that beat them twice last year. Additionally, the Spartans led #1 ranked Valor Christian 6-3 heading into the 3rd inning, despite being unable to pull off the win in the end. Hokkanen mentioned, “We were the first team to score on the 2014 State Champions, with a total score of 7. We continuously put up a fight against good teams, trying to get our names on the board.”

The new underclassman made an immense contribution to the team, allowing TJ’s name to shine in the spotlight statewide. Robbins added, “Multiple players on the team are some of the best in the state, and I’m really proud of that.” Freshman Jaelyn Jackson is currently one of the state’s leading hitters and base stealers, as well as the team’s shortstop. Freshman catcher Daija Robbins was the leading hitter in the entire state at one point during the season. Not only did these freshmen contribute to the team based on skills and statistics, but they helped create an invigorating team bond. “Being that I am the only upperclassman, most of our team are underclassmen which brought a different aspect to the game. I get a lot of different opinions from different perspectives which really helped us grow as a team,” expressed Hokkanen.

After improving their overall performance during the season, the Lady Spartans focused on preparing for playoffs, taking it step by step. Head coach Kyler Jackson mentioned, “We took each day at a time to get better.” The girls invested a lot of work during the season, and switched their mindsets to focus on the small fundamentals that determined whether they would win or lose a game. “It can be stressful; we really had no days off.  We couldn’t risk not having a day to improve something,” said Robbins. The ladies took their game to the next level and participated in practices full of high intensity and progression. “We practiced game-like situations and hit off of faster pitchers to prepare our skills for harder games,” explained Hokkanen.

Facing the ups and downs within the season, the girls took on playoffs with fresh mentalities and aspiration. “We went into playoffs with an open mind. We knew we were going to be playing a very high ranked team,” said Robbins. On October 17th, the girls competed against Mountain View High School and Vista Ridge High School. After a hard fought battle against the fourth ranked team in state, Mountain View, the Spartans were defeated, by a score of 3-2. The girls ended this memorable season with a tough loss, but on a positive note, Hokkanen made the CHSCA All-State Game, (Zoya) Robbins, Jackson, and Sevi Harden made the 1st All League, and (Daija) Robbins and Sydney Thompson made 2nd team All League.