We not me: Softball team looks to keep winning in a big program turnaround


Photo by Reilly Calvert

The varsity women’s softball team celebrates senior Desiree Warner’s home run. Their teamwork and encouragement was displayed through out the game.

Tsion Saunders, Sports Editor

After the women’s volleyball team won one game last year, head coach Bradley Sawyer decided to take a different approach this season. Changing the culture and the mindset of his players all in the hopes of having a better season. So far, it’s paid off. 

Instilling five words into the girls early in the season gave them swagger and a new persona as a team. Communication, progression, attitude, effort, and teamwork are the five words that started the program’s transformation. 

“Whenever you have a bad season,” Sawyer said,  “That means at some point you have a bad culture. So I told them we have to redefine what our culture is.”

The team lost eleven games last year and now are already on the season beating more than half of those teams, in close games and blowouts. This really shows how the team has changed and how the chemistry has grown.

“I think we have more chemistry as a team this year,” junior outfielder Leila Slater said. “We are focusing on the little things, battling as a team and not giving up.”

Changing the environment was key for coach Sawyer. Establishing key values that are important to the team like being present at practices, winning and losing with class, and always working to get to the next level.

Being on the softball team is bigger than winning games and hitting home runs. Players put the team before themselves and always look out for each other. Such a positive environment allows growth and for everyone to learn. 

“You’ve never truly accomplished anything, you’re just working to get better and to get to the next level,” Sawyer said.

Practices are key for Sawyer. It’s when the girls get better, learn the game more and get to have fun while they’re together. 

A typical indoor practice consists of a lot of swings, pitches, and good energy the whole time. Practice is productive and in the words of senior Desiree Warner, practice is a good balance of focusing to get better and enjoying the practice. 

Sawyer is also an assistant coach for football players, so he brings a lot of those coaching views and aspects to softball. While he is proud of his girls for having a better record than last year, there is always room for improvement and more games to win. 

One view he brings to softball that has helped the program be so successful is the saying “player-driven and player-led teams are better than coach-driven and coach-led teams.” It capitalizes on player leadership and the girls on the team stepping up and taking different roles on the team. 

  Against difficult teams like Davie, West Forsyth, and Glenn, leadership and the team’s motto “We, not Me” have been and will continue to be important to finish out the season. The girls reflect the saying in everything they do and no matter what grade, every girl can learn something from each other. 

“It means to put everyone before myself and not leave anyone behind or alone,” junior pitcher and first base player Gabby Baber said. 

Kamryn Travis and Desiree Warner are the only two seniors on the team. Having that experience on the team allows them to teach and coach the underclassmen of what is a fairly young team composed of mostly sophomores and freshmen. 

Warner has played softball all four years and as a senior she has appricraed her time of ups and downs with the team. 

“Now that I am a senior i’ve realized that times flies by quicker than you think,” said warner. “ Being appreciative and enjoying every minute of life has helped me.”