By Ben Savallo
The lady Apaches stepped out into the limelight and came to impress week after week, plowing their way to the school’s first national title for softball.
As for the TJC softball team, they were dominant and unstoppable; truly a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the ball.
“Everybody just does their job,” said former head coach, Nicole Dickson.
These ladies showed TJC something it has literally never seen before in school history. The lady Apaches went to the national tournament this year in Utah after barely missing the trip the season before. They walked into the tournament only having dropped four games the entire season, which landed them in the number one seed. With it having been only their second year as a program, these resilient ladies went into Utah determined and came out champions-national champions that is.
There were a lot of firsts for this new team last season; the lady Apaches became the number one ranked team in the nation for the first time ever halfway through the season. They made it over the hump known as the regional tournament for the first time, which is where there season ended the year before. It was also their first trip to the national tournament, not only made it to the tournament but dominated it and won it. The list of accolades TJC was able to accomplish just goes on and on.
But so does the list of losses they will have as a team. Also like the baseball team, the lady Apaches are losing a lot of significant leaders at critical positions to graduation. It will be interesting to see how this team will react with the new season after losing two first team all-americans, four starting sophomores, and not to mention their head coach, Nicole Dickson.
That’s right, TJC softball will have a new face at the helm. At the start of the new season, former Western Nebraska Community College Head Coach, Maria Winn-Ratliff, will assume the position as head coach to replace Dickson.
As for now it is a new season, it is time to forget what happened yesterday and prepare for what tomorrow holds.
“It’s about who is toughest between the ears,” said Dickson.
Because like baseball, the softball team proved they were the best in the nation and have that top spot as top dog.
The pressure will be on Coach Ratliff and TJC to come up with a formula for immediate success. After the job Coach Dickson did, building the softball program from the ground up and constructing a championship team, Coach Ratliff and the lady Apaches have their work cut out for them.