It has been three years since Kell’s softball team advanced past the first round of the state playoffs.
This year, the Lady Longhorns are hoping to get that far, and then some.
Kell has improved its record each of the last two seasons. This year, the Lady Longhorns are 17-8 overall and a second-place 9-3 in Region 6AAAAA play. Kell is also the only team that has handed first-place Cambridge a region loss.
“We have really invested into our youth, or metro, program, and we are really starting to see the effects of it,” Kell coach Kevin Foster said.
The Lady Longhorns have been led by a Brooke Smith, who recently committed to Tusculum University in Tennessee, and Brooke Beam. Smith has led Kell with a .453 average, three home runs and 20 stolen bases — all team highs. Beam has been the main pitcher with a 10-5 record, 1.14 ERA and 99 strikeouts.
Julia Morici has also had a breakout season, hitting .438 with 21 RBIs, while Anna Bardeen is batting .377 with 16 RBIs.
The team has caught its stride at the right time. It has won 12 of its last 14 games, including its last six. That includes its 5-2 win over Cambridge.
“Beating them boosted our confidence,” Foster said. “It was a true team effort for that win. It was an extremely close series through both games. It was the biggest team win of the season. Everyone was clicking on all cylinders.”
Kell has one game remaining on its regular-season schedule, making the short trip to Class AAAAAA No. 1 Pope on Wednesday.
The Class AAAAA state playoffs will begin with its new super regional format Oct. 18.