COVID-19 may have thrown them a curveball, but the Diamond Divas of the Mays Lady Raiders Softball Team persisted, finishing their season with a winning record and a playoff run.
“This young team really gelled and played really well despite all the obstacles,” Coach Michael Jennings said. “Once we knew we would have a 2020 season, we established some realistic goals: 1) Play hard. 2) Stay healthy. 3) Make AAAA State Playoffs. Needless to say, we accomplished all of them.”
The team earned a 6-3 record and qualified for the AAAA state playoffs on Oct. 19. Tytiyana Tucker, a senior pitcher and third baseman, attributes the success to teamwork.
“I overcame obstacles this season during the pandemic by just sticking with the team,” she said. “We got more done together than individually.”
Senior Akeila Dobbs agrees.
“I am most proud of the effort of my teammates and coaches this year,” said Dobbs, catcher/first base. “No one gave up, and everyone made this year one of my best years of softball.”
Throughout the season, players had frequent temperature checks and COVID-19 questioning; they also practiced and played to a fan base of zero.
“In all honesty, I loved the pandemic at first,” said 10th grader Caylee Nunnally, who plays short stop and center field. “Of course, it wasn’t the fact that people were getting sick but the fact that we were actually given the chance to work on ourselves.”
Caylee adds that the pandemic soon began to affect her mentaand l physical health, but with the support of her family and teammates, she has persevered.
“I am most proud of how the team came together and made the best of what was going on,” Caylee said. “At first we weren’t really communicating as much, but now we can’t stop talking to each other, even after the season has ended. I’m excited for next year and what it may bring for us as a team.”
While the Diamond Divas fell short of victory to Heritage High School (the 2018 and 2019 AAAA State Softball Champions and the No. 1 ranked team in the AAAA State Ranking in 2020), they remain optimistic about next season and proud of their “pandemic season.”
“I am most proud of how we finished in the end,” said 10th grader Theolanders Habersham, short stop and pitcher. “Whether we won or lost, we didn’t give up.”