DAVIS — With a young team that at times starts five freshmen, it is easy to surmise that the Davis Wolves' softball team has exceeded all expectations.
That is what a trip to the Class 3A State Tournament will do for you.
The Wolves will look to extend their playoff run at 1 p.m., Thursday when they face No. 3-ranked Marlow. Coach David Griffin expects his young team to be ready for its next challenge.
"We try to tell them the pressure is off, you have made it," he said. "Just go out and have fun. Enjoy the moment, but don't let it get to you.
"We will be there early enough so they can get the 'Oh my gosh' feeling out. It will all be good, and I'm not really worried. I don't think it matters if they are freshmen, sophomores, juniors or seniors. You will have that adrenaline going into the state tournament. Everyone there has it, and we try to downplay it once we get there."
This is the fourth trip to state for Davis under Griffin's tenure in fastpitch and slowpitch. He said the team will travel tonight and spend the night, wake up and loosen up before going to The Ball Fields at Firelake, site of the tournament. And he expects to have plenty of support on hand.
"We will roll in and get to see all the excitement and all the people there," he said. "You know how Davis is, if you are winning, they will come. We made it to state my first time, and I couldn't believe how many people came. It was like half the town was there. They do it up right. The windows are painted and we will have a pep assembly."
To warm up for the tournament, Davis played highly touted Blanchard Monday, dropping a 3-0 decision.
"We played well, but we just had a hard time scoring," Griffin said. "We wanted to go out and play some of the best and we did. We knew it would be tough."
Griffin also expects a tough test from Marlow. It will be the first meeting between the two teams this year.
"They have a really good pitcher, a really good team or they wouldn't be there," he said. "They can hit the ball. But they are not somebody we can't beat if we play really well."
Griffin gives a lot of credit for the Wolves' state appearance to his two leaders, Lexi Williams and Casady Webb. Williams is the team's lone senior starter and Webb is a standout junior.
"Lexi has done a really good job for us," Griffin said. "Normally, she plays third but she moved to shortstop when we had an injury. He hits in the middle .400's and is a good leader. This will be her fourth trip to state. She is getting some looks and wants to play at East Central University.
"Casady is hitting close to .500 with a lot of doubles and some home runs. No one has stolen a base on her this year. And some have tried. She has Division 1 teams looking at here. Those two are our leaders and we have some really good underclassmen that make us a team."
Entering the season, Griffin was hopeful Davis would develop and be able to make a run at the state tournament in 2015. Needless to say, the timetable has been advanced.
"You never really want to admit this, but with all the freshmen, I thought we could get pretty good and next year, make it to state and win," Griffin said. "But now, we are at state and we can win it. We have fulfilled our expectations and will hopefully get more."