The Scottsboro softball team started the 2017 season as strong as any team in the state, piling up impressive wins by the handfuls.
But around spring break, the Wildcats hit the wall. A surprising run-rule loss at home to Guntersville was followed by an up-and-down stretch that reached head-shaking proportion with a 9-0 home loss to Arab.
Suddenly, a top-five ranked team for most of the season would be the No. 3 seed in its area tournament. While others looked on with concern, Scottsboro players and coaches believed eventually their talent and work ethic would pull them out of the slump.
“We knew we’d have a dip eventually,” said Scottsboro senior left fielder Macy Kate Petriske. “Actually I think it came at a good time, a time that we could rise back up from it in the right time. We sat down before Easter and we talked. We got these bracelets “tetelestai.” In Greek, it means “it is finished.” It set in that the end was near and that we needed to get back going.”
“We believed we would,” SHS senior center fielder Kylie Thackerson said. “Believe — that was our [motto].”
Soon after that meeting, Scottsboro returned to the form it had for most of the season. And when the postseason began, it laid waste to its opponents en route to winning the 5A Area 14 Tournament championship before going 3-0 at the North Regional. The Wildcats carried an eight game winning streak into the state tournament, where they reached the finals before falling 2-0 to three-time state champion Springville in a state finals game that was suspended due to inclement weather on May 20 in Montgomery and completed two days later in Oxford.
In hindsight, the reaction to Scottsboro’s mid-season slump was an overreaction. While some wondered if Scottsboro’s season had gone off the tracks, head coach Robyn Johnson believed the Wildcats were always full-speed ahead toward its goals.
“I didn’t [doubt],” Johnson said. “We just went through a slump. That happens in softball. I knew our ability the whole entire season. We finally started playing to it. That’s when your character comes out.”