Plainview softball fired up to host 4A Regional with state berth on the line
It’s no secret that the Plainview High School softball team set lofty goals for the 2021 season. The Lady Indians believed they had all the ingredients for success and that’s now proven as they’ll host a 4A Regional starting Thursday.
“The fans, the players and the town had high expectations, so it’s kind of working out how we wanted it to,” said Plainview head coach Brandon Ybarra. “Everybody wants to host regionals and have a chance at state. It’s definitely going to be a ride. It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s not. We’ve played in a lot of pressure moments, so I think the girls are ready for it. They’re really excited.”
That excitement has the Lady Indians fired up because they know how important their fans are during crucial postseason games.
“I definitely think it gives us a home advantage with the crowd and all of our students coming out and cheering us on,” said Plainview senior Riley Grant.
The Lady Indians have a chance to experience that crowd twice on Thursday as they open play at 2 p.m. against Seminole. With a win, they’d play at 6 p.m. against Newcastle or Cache.
It’s safe to say Newcastle is the favorite to win that game, as the top-seeded Lady Racers went 21-11 overall and 13-1 in District 4A-4.
“I know Newcastle has a pretty decent pitcher,” Grant said. “We’ll definitely have to hit the ball every inning and keep scoring. If we hit the ball, we’ll be fine.”
However, Plainview is focused on Seminole as that’s the first test. The Lady Chieftains finished the regular season at 15-10 and 9-5 in District 4A-2.
“I’ve contacted some coaches and got some information on Seminole — charts and stuff like that,” Ybarra said. “It’s going to be a nail biter. Everybody who’s coming into a regional, they can play. We won’t overlook anybody, but we want to be there in the end. Taking care of the first one and then everything takes care of itself.”
The Lady Indians should be in good shape to do that, as they prepared for regional play by facing Class 6A Norman on Monday and Class 5A Santa Fe South on Tuesday.
“We kind of set the schedule up on purpose so we maybe play some tougher competition that we usually don’t see, especially in our class,” Ybarra said. “They’re definitely tune-up games. You want to be playing your best at this time of the year, so they’re great games to get under your belt before you head into the playoffs.”
That should no doubt pay dividends for Plainview, but the group will also lean on each other. Ybarra has played a role in building that team chemistry during his first year at the helm.
“He has definitely helped and brought us together,” Grant said. “He’s going to take us far and we’re really excited for him being here.”