'Fight, Finish, Faith' propels Plainview softball to 4A State Tournament

Beau Bearden
The Daily Ardmoreite
The Lady Indians celebrate after tallying a 4-3 walk-off win over Newcastle Friday that forced a winner-take-all contest. Plainview won that game 6-0 to earn a trip to the 4A State Tournament.

The three simple words, “Fight, Finish, Faith,” have played a vital role for the Plainview High School softball team throughout the 2021 campaign. The Lady Indians showed why Friday as they won three straight games to earn a trip to the 4A State Tournament in Oklahoma City.

“I had a feeling this morning that we were all going to come back and fight,” said Plainview senior Taryn Martin. “We didn’t want to lose at all. We had to step up as a team and work all together to bring it together. And we did a really good job of that. Everybody was a part of it, no matter if they were courtesy running, cheering or anything like that. We all fought together.”

That team-first mentality paid off, especially in crunch time. The Lady Indians turned to everyone to tally victories in consecutive win-or-go home games against Newcastle. The first was in walk-off fashion, while the state tourney clincher was a decisive 6-0 shutout.

And that success had a lot to do with Plainview focusing on the fundamentals.

“(The hitting) started with the Seminole game, the very first game,” said Lady Indians head coach Brandon Ybarra. “We stayed late Thursday night and hit after the games. Expecting what they were going to throw at us. It just carried over into today. It showed, we hit the ball really well the other way today and moved people over. It was definitely what we wanted.”

Hitting was no doubt important, but it’s safe to say Plainview wouldn’t be headed to state without Riley Grant. The senior ace started all three games, throwing 254 pitches, while striking out a combined 23 batters over 19 innings of work.

“Thursday night I texted Riley and asked her, ‘Are you ready to go three games in a row?’” Ybarra said. “She responded, ‘Coach, I’ll do whatever it takes.’ And that’s what I wanted to hear. She did what it took today. I’m so proud of her, to have a senior leader like that — who would throw every pitch and wants the ball in the circle. That’s what we want.”

Plainview's Taryn Martin is greeted by teammates after she hit a two-run homer Friday in a 6-0 shutout of Newcastle.

She wasn’t the only one who stepped up though, as Martin found her groove at the plate. The senior hit a home run in both wins over Newcastle, highlighted by a two-run shot in the clinching game.

“Taryn just showed up today,” Ybarra said. “That’s what we wanted from a senior. And really, all our seniors showed up today. We told them, ‘We go as far as they’ll take us.’ And they did. They took us where we wanted to go.”

Dalia Daniels was one of those seniors.

The designated player was the hero in the walk-off win by connecting on an RBI single for the 4-3 win. That set the stage for the Lady Indians to punch a ticket to state and it’s a moment that Ybarra is grateful to be part of during his first season.

“I’m really humbled,” he said. “You don’t want to take these days for granted. You get to coach and do the best job in the world. It’s a humbling experience and I’m glad I able to help these girls.”