Having won just three games from 2014 to 2016, Sanderson softball coach Steve Klein knows building a program starts with the little things.
And the Spartans might be starting to get it.
Sanderson is 3-10 (3-6 Cap-8 4A) and three of its remaining opponents have already fallen to the Spartans this year: Broughton, Enloe and rival Millbrook.
“Our theme all year has really been worrying about the small game inside the big game. ... And as long as we are doing that and having more successes and failures in the small games, the big games will take care of themselves,” Klein said. “We have been focusing on each at bat, each chance in the field, every throw we make in the field and for our pitchers every pitch that they make. ... Really we are just trying to break down the game into smaller pieces and having success at that and then put it back together and have a full and complete game.”
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Against Broughton, it was the bats that carried the way said senior co-captain Nicole Mitchell. And against Enloe, it was pitching and fielding.
“I feel like we build off each other,” Mitchell said. “So, if one does well it’s like a domino effect. We just all have to be on the same page and all.”
Mitchell is hitting .405 to pace the Spartans, with eight RBIs. Sophomore pitcher/infielder Nicole Keane is hitting .333 with seven RBIs. She also picked up her first win of the season with the complete-game, three-strikeout effort against the Eagles.
“Success does breed success,” Keane said. “I hope we can keep winning. I know we are good enough to win. I hope it makes everyone feel like we are good enough to win.”
The 8-7 victory over Millbrook went a long way in establishing that. All of the Spartans’ five wins from 2014-2016 were against either Broughton or Enloe.
“It definitely builds their confidence which is one of the things coming into this season I knew was going to be important for this team to continue to improve and grow,” Klein said. “They are responding to adversity well. And even though earlier in the season when in games the scores were a little bit lopsided, there were points where they played very well and showed that they can compete with the better teams in the conference and the better teams in the area.”