CHARLESTON, W.Va. - It took the Hurricane softball program 33 years to earn its first state championship, and Redskin coach Josh Caldwell knows what an important milestone it was.
With a new title now in his program's back pocket, Caldwell took a moment Thursday to make a little light of the situation moving forward.
"The goal is to win a state title and now we have won one, we don't have to win a game next year," Caldwell said with a laugh. "I'm just kidding. It's a good feeling but we are already getting ready to try and defend that title."
The players have been hard at work in an effort to do just that, not taking any time off from softball but instead have been playing a lot of ball in the Amateur Softball Association of America as well as taking part in the ongoing three-week summer practice period for high school athletes.
"We practice once or twice a week with ASA, and play in seven tournaments to go along with the three games we have played during the three weeks," said rising junior Courtney Rogers, who pitched a shutout in Hurricane's 5-0 win over Wheeling Park in the title game May 23 in Vienna.
Rogers, the 2013 West Virginia Player of the Year, plays for the West Virginia Dusters 16-and-under ASA team along with fellow junior-to-be Cassi Sargent, the Redskins' shortstop. The two will play in a tournament this weekend in Rock Hill, S.C.
There are several Hurricane softball players participating in ASA trying to build on the momentum of their state title with senior Addie Fullen and junior Madi Casto also serving as teammates as part of the under-18 Diamond Dusters.
The players said they enjoy getting to continue to play the sport they love with softball over the summer as much as they are, especially with ASA.
"It's really different going out of state playing in front of college coaches," Casto said. "There is a lot more competition. We all are still playing softball four to five days a week. It's a great experience."