Achieving and reloading

Exeter softball enjoys 15 wins, conference title


The Exeter softball team just got better and better this season.

Finishing at 15-8, the Lady Tigers fell to Purdy in the district semifinals, and though they did not reach the title bout, they did accomplish a goal never reach before — Ozark 7 champions.

Ashley Fly, Exeter softball coach, said her team went above and beyond this year.

‘”As a team, we reached a lot of goals and achieved a lot of things we were not sure we would at the start of the season,” she said. “We won a conference championship and surprised a lot of people late in the season by playing them really close or beating them. We also had a lot of All-District, All-Conference, All-Region and even some All-State honors.”

Fly said the Lady Eagles progressed through the season to be playing at their best when it ended. Exeter went 7-3 in its last 10, and the last two losses were one-run contests, 15-14 against Lamar in the season finale, then 10-9 against Purdy in districts.

“We really put things together that second week of April,” Fly said. “We put things in place and in the last two weeks really peaked at the end of the season.

“One of the best games we played all year was against Purdy. We were on fire and racking up runs early, and even though we fell short, it was a memorable game.”

Another memorable contest came during that mid-April 5-game streak— the conference championship win over College Heights, 8-7.

“To be down 7-4 against College Heights and come back to win was also very memorable,” Fly said.

Achieving such heights this season will motivate Exeter next year, as only two seniors will depart from the squad.

“Natalie Crumpler brought a lot to the table for our team, offensively and defensively,” Fly said. “She played a big role in our success and did a good job preparing the younger kids for when she’s gone.

“Ali Daniels was our utility player who did some in the field and always batted.She came into her own and made some key plays or hits for us in certain situations.

“Both our seniors had big roles and leave big shoes to fill.”

Plenty of feet will be jockeying for those shoes next season, as expectations remain high.

“With just those two seniors gone, our underclassmen will bring us a lot next season,” Fly said. “We’re playing in the Monett league this summer to get better at certain things and develop so next year, we know what key things we can execute in each situation to be successful.

“We also all have to come together and fill those leadership roles.”

Those who fill the roles will be tasked with leading the Lady Tigers toward their goal of reaching the district championship again, like the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

“We want to get back the district championship and continue on with what we’ve done this year,” Fly said. “We want to win those big, key games at the end of the season that will put us in a good spot.

“Overall, we had a good season this year, and I’m proud of what the kids accomplished. We’ll miss our seniors but look for growth and are excited to see what the next season will bring.”

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