HEALDTON — Sometimes it’s darkest just before dawn.

HEALDTON — Sometimes it’s darkest just before dawn.

For the Healdton Lady Bulldogs, one of their darkest times came last season when they finished with a 3-17 overall record and a 1-12 record in district 2A-6.

But this season, instead of entering with a lack of motivation, the ladies in blue and white have their excitement levels at an all time high under the direction of second year coach Tyler Lewis. 

“It’s becoming where we are starting to build a culture around this program,” Lewis said. “Before our youth was seen as a weakness, but now it’s being seen as a strength. These girls are growing as players and as people as well. They now know what to expect and it’s exciting to see.”

Last season the Lady Bulldogs entered their first season in a real district, where they were placed in the tough District 2A-6 along with Silo, Latta Colbert, Coalgate, Calera, Stratford and Wynnewood.

The end result was a difficult season full of travel and tough losses.

However, things have changed this season for the better when it comes to district situations for Healdton.

The Lady Bulldogs have been shifted into the new District 2A-3 this season, along with defending state champion Amber-Pocasset, Minco, Dibble, Stratford, Wynnewood, Walters and Frederick. 

“I felt like last year the way our district was drawn up, I felt it was one of the toughest districts in the state regardless of classification,” Lewis said. “This season the district is a lot more equal from a competition standpoint. If we go out and win the games we’re supposed to win, and possibly squeak by in some of those other games, then we have a much better chance this season of making the regional tournament.”

Healdton will be led by a pair of seniors this season in Torree Wingo and Courtney Doyal, along with two juniors in Ciera Patty and Macey Howell.

Seven sophomores and six freshmen will make up the foundation of the underclassmen for the Lady Bulldogs this season.

“A great thing that is exciting for me this year is that I don’t have to police my girls,” Lewis said. “Whenever we walk on the field, my two seniors take charge and make things get done. It’s allowing me to make sure big picture things get done and that we can become a better team. Softball has always been deep rooted into who we are in Healdton, and to be able to put this program back on the map this season wouldn’t just be exciting, but it would be very special and make people talk about us again.”

Healdton will open the season Aug. 12 with a district game on the road against Stratford, before hosting Dickson the following day. 

The Lady Bulldogs will then go to the Lady Broncho Invitational at Central High on Aug. 15-17, before resuming district play at home against Frederick on Aug. 19.