After their first ever State Championship on July 19th, 2018, everyone has kept a close eye on the Louisa-Muscatine Junior-Senior High School (L&M) Girls Softball Team. They have not disappointed. This summer, the team won the Conference Title for the third year in a row and continues their road to the State Tournament.
Assistant Coach Nate Koppe feels exceptionally proud of his team’s progress. Over the past four years, he has watched the team reinvent itself and grow more successful and confident. “I think it’s a great accomplishment for our team. It shows we’ve made huge progress,” he said.
The L&M Girls Softball Team’s turnaround began in 2015 when the team had its first winning season in more than ten years. Then, in 2017, the girls won their conference title but fell early in their playoff run. Finally, in 2018, the team went all the way to the State Tournament and defeated Regina to win the 2A State Championship.
Now, with a 30-4 regular season record and an impressive 46-0 run in conference play over the last three years, the L&M Girls appear ready to take another shot at the State Championship, this time in the 3A division. “I don’t want to jinx anything, but I think it’s pretty good,” remarked Koppe on the team’s State Tournament chances.
Over the course of the season, the team has worked hard to continue honing their skills. By devoting their weekends to playing larger 4A and 5A schools, the Falcons learned what it takes to play and win against challenging opponents, and how to trust their teammates to come through when they need them to. As regional play continues, Koppe knows his team will have what it takes to relax, focus, and play some great ball. He advises his players, “just stay loose, keep it fun, and take it one game at a time, one bat at a time, and one pitch at a time. Don’t do too much on your own . . . there’s a great team behind you.”
All summer long, the team has practiced all this advice, most notably Koppe’s suggestions to stay calm and enjoy the game. Beginning at a big matchup against Durant, one of the players wore a silly hat in the dugout while she cheered her teammates on. Dubbed a rally cap, the other girls embraced the idea, and more and more began bringing fun hats to wear off the field. By the time conference play rolled around, the whole team had gotten in on the act. Koppe feels pleased that his team found such a good way to bond and relieve pressure, all while giving the fans one more thing to cheer about. “It’s a fun way for them to stay loose,” he said.
As regional play continues this week, the L&M Girls Softball Team should continue to shine. As they make their second attempt for the coveted State Championship, all of their supporters across the region will continue to cheer them on and help their successful streak continue.
Please note, this article went to press before the Regional Semi-Final on Friday, July 12th, at 7:00 pm, and thus does not include scores or specifics from that game.