BOBCATS DEFY ALL ODDS: Opp softball team surpassed expectations

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Opp Lady Bobcats surprised a lot of people with a strong performance at last week’s Class 3A South Regional tournament in Gulf Shores.

“At the beginning of the year, the varsity struggled,” Opp head coach David McVay said. “We always had good pitching, but we just had trouble getting outs and making routine plays. Just before spring break, you could tell the varsity team was getting better. We hoped we could peak at the right time and that’s what we did.”

McVay said they really began to feel confidence in themselves and each other.

“Early in the year, we just didn’t believe in ourselves or the ladies around us,” McVay said. “As the season went, you could see their confidence growing. By the time we got to Gulf Shores, our confidence level was that we were going to make it out of there. I can’t pin point any particular game that it started, but once we had confidence that was our biggest improvement.”

The way the team practiced is something that McVay said impressed him.

“Their work ethic is amazing,” McVay said. “When you only have two seniors, it might be difficult to get the team motivated at practice. That wasn’t the case with us. There were probably less than a handful of practices that we as coaches felt weren’t good. That says a lot about those two seniors and the juniors on how they lead in the right way. It also says a lot about the younger girls at following the lead of the older girls.”

McVay said that his two seniors (Payton Brown and Cassadi Adams) were huge to the Bobcats’ success.

“Payton has been a part of us for three years,” McVay said. “She is type of young lady that every team needs. She has a positive outlook on everything. When one of the girls was down, Payton was there to put her arms around them and encourage them. She was the girl you would hear cheering for everyone from the dugout. Every successful team needs a player like Payton.”

McVay said Adams was a player that took on a new role to help the team.

“Cassadi Adams is a girl that pitched for us in the past,” McVay said. “That was all that she had confidence in herself to do. At the end of last year, I knew our numbers would be low this year so I told her that she couldn’t just be a pitcher. This year she became our starting left fielder and batted leadoff for us. She took what I said and ran with it. She did what she had to do to help the team. This is a girl that had no confidence at the plate as a junior. She went from hitting .059 to hitting over .350 this year in the leadoff spot and she had the highest on base percentage of anyone. I can’t say enough about what these girls meant for this team. They kept us together during the rough times. They are going to be missed.”

When the junior varsity team joined the varsity team at the end of the year, McVay said things began to really click.

“When you combine eagerness with players that ready for something good to happen, you get this team,” McVay said. “Adding six or seven girls with youthful talent that believed in themselves along with a group of experienced girls and knew we could do something special.”

McVay said he is proud of his team.

“I just want these girls to know how proud we are to be their coaches,” McVay said. “The most impressive part about this team is that they weren’t satisfied. People are congratulating them on great year and the girls are telling them that it was a disappointment. They are still hungry. I’m extremely proud of them. They represented Opp well. This group has a bright future.”