Jason Bowen

At 15-21-2, the Skyline softball team’s record isn’t extacly pretty.

But just looking at those numbers doesn’t tell the real story.

Skyline is a Class 1A schools size wise. Yet throughout the regular season, the Vikings were constantly on the field against teams that were double, triple and quadruple their size.

In softball, if you don’t have double-digit losses, the team is the elite of the elite or its coach is a soft scheduler. And soft scheduler’s rarely thrive in the postseason.

Skyline’s took some lumps, but they’ve started handing them out, too. The Vikings have played 38 games to date, and only six of them have been against Class 1A competition. Skyline is 5-1 against 1A teams, four wins over area foe Woodville, a win over No. 3 Spring Garden and a loss to No. 2 Mars Hill Bible. And while Skyline could have scheduled soft, won a ton of games and had a sparkling record entering regionals, that’s likely where its season would have ended.

But by playing a rugged schedule loaded with Class 3A, 4A and 5A teams, Skyline’s prepared to make a run at returning to the state tournament in Montgomery for the second time in three years. The schedule it played doesn’t guarantee Skyline anything. The 1A North Regional has some really good teams. But the Vikings have faced tough competition this season. They have dug in the batter’s box against ace pitchers. They’ve been in tense situations with the outcome hanging in the balance.

That’s not to say playing that schedule hasn’t been a grind. The Vikings played to win every game. And when they didn’t, it could be difficult to look beyond the final score. 

“We knew it might be tough to win 10 or 12 ballgames,” said Skyline head coach Slade Bellomy. “But we knew we’d be prepared (for postseason play). I talked to the kids about that. They realize (the schedule was) making us better whether we won or lost. We wanted to win. (But) we want to go back to Montgomery, we’ve got the kids to do it, and we think (the schedule) has prepared us to hopefully do that.”

Skyline stepped up to the challenges of a challenging regular season. Now it is better equipped to step up to them in the postseason.

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