Big senior class leading Zionsville softball

Mar. 17—ZIONSVILLE — Mike Garrett has seen many different types of teams in his years with Zionsville softball.

And as this year gets ready to kick off, there are some traits among this group of Eagles that really stand out to Garrett, and that is something that really excites him.

"The girls are staying active, and no one is sitting around thinking," Garrett said. "In year's past, we had a lot of kids thinking through and playing slow. Right now the girls are swinging out of their shoes, they are running to spots and making plays. We have spent a lot of time on the fundamentals, skills and drills and the girls just go out there and get it done. I have really liked that."

Garrett said coming into the season, the team is setting their goals high and are ready to put in the work to accomplish those goals.

While they have a challenging schedule, the Eagles aren't going to back down from any challenge.

"I feel like we are going to be competitive," Garrett said. "We want to make a deep run in the playoffs, and I think we match up well with anybody. This team doesn't fear anybody. I have been part of teams where you see the name on the other team's jersey and you kind of know what is going to happen. This team will play anyone, and we have good, strong goals for this group but are also focused on just one game at a time."

The Eagles are going to have a good mix of veterans and young players in their line-up this year.

Garrett said of the things that has impressed him throughout the early parts of the year is the leadership within the upperclassmen.

"It's a really good group of seniors and we have 13 of them," Garrett said. "They've all stepped up to do things to help our culture and the younger kids day in and day out. Sydny Poeck, Ella Hardin, Lola Fritts and Avery Benedict seem to be where the younger kids gravitate toward and the coaches know we are in good hands with them. But all the seniors have stepped up. Kaylee Baxter is a junior who is speaking up too. We are becoming a player-led team, which is great."

The Eagles are coming off an 11-13 record from a year ago, but had five losses within one or two runs or in extra innings.

Garrett said one of the keys to this year will be reversing some of those tight games.

"This team won't give up," Garrett said. "Last year, we did a good job of staying in games, we just couldn't close them out. We have talked a lot about sealing the deal this year. We had five or six games that came down to the last inning last year that didn't go our way and I think this is a group that can finish some of those off."

The Eagles plan on hitting the ground running when the season starts next week, starting with a game against Danville on Tuesday.

Garrett said the key to the season is keeping things competitive, but light at the same time.

"We want to challenge the kids, but we want to have fun too," Garrett said. "We aren't going to be successful if we aren't having fun. This a sport were you go 2-for-10 and you don't make the team, but 3-for-10 you are an all-conference player. There isn't a big margin for error. We are keeping it fun and they are competitive and loud. We are trying to keep that excitement in front of them, and when they do that and just have fun, good things happen and we aren't worried about results."

Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.