Determination pays off for Lady Monarchs

When it comes to determination in sports, you can remember Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger who made the team at Notre Dame, or Vince Papale, who seemingly came out of nowhere to play for the Philadelphia Eagles; with these victorious stories in sports, there also comes the one of despair.

Just ask early 90s Mets starting pitcher Anthony Young, loser of 27 consecutive games, or this year’s version of the Cleveland Cavaliers who lost 26 straight games. They will be remembered for their struggles more than their successes. Throughout sports history, losing streaks are just as common as winning streaks, but all of the longest ones have come to an end.

One was broken earlier this month by a very determined Meadowbrook Monarchs softball team, as they won not one, but two games to start to put an end to the struggles experienced by the program. The Monarchs defeated Petersburg 20-9 and Hopewell 10-6.

“You obviously want to win,” said Meadowbrook softball head coach Mark Cooper. “It’s not always about winning and losing. I want these girls to learn from their time playing sports here.”

After not winning a game in over five years, a streak that spanned over 100 contests, the Monarchs did it. They won.

For senior center fielder Corinza Harper, the only four -year player on Cooper’s roster, it took her 63 games to taste victory.

“It was really like a dream come true,” said Harper. “Talk about nerves. I didn’t want the game to get away from the team; we wanted it so badly.”

A strong second inning and a homer by the senior helped spark a 20-run onslaught from the bats of the Monarchs. Coupled with the pitching of London Booker, it was a recipe for success.

“Everyone came out swinging big sticks,” explained Harper. “We were clapping, cheering and singing; it was amazing.”

The celebration didn’t end at the dog pile on the field, either. Students and faculty alike took notice of the team’s victory.

“People came up to me and were so surprised,” said Harper. “And then some people actually came out to watch us.”

Those that came out to watch the game after were not disappointed, and Meadowbrook pitched and hit their way to a second victory, sending the Blue Devils home with a loss as well. According to Harper, she had never seen a higher confidence level in her team before a game.

“We were able to carry that experience over, and well, get it done again,” said the smiling senior.

As of press time, Meadowbrook has played out this season so far to a 2-6 mark, but currently holds fourth place in the Central District standings with a 2-3 record. If the season ended today, Meadowbrook would have a chance to play for their first district title since 1992.

“Softball is a funny sport,” said Cooper. “I told the girls that anything could happen, we still have some incredible opponents on the schedule in Thomas Dale and Matoaca; playing those kinds of teams make you better.”

With Meadowbrook’s successes this year, and the presence of a junior varsity program for the first time in seven years, there is much to build on. Last year, only 15 girls showed up for tryouts for the varsity team. This year 60 girls showed up to try out. The team only had a few returnees, but all are contributing to this year’s success. Those returnees are Kasey Whitecotton, Briana Crewe, Alani Wiggins, Alexis Carter, and the aforementioned Harper and Booker. Cooper, in his second year, hopes that these recent successes in the program will command attention from the community as well.

“I want everyone to know that this program is back on track,” he explained. “I tell the girls, no matter what happened in the past, it’s the past, we have to build on the future.”

That future will continue to pan out this season for the Monarchs, as they hope to collect more wins. Their next contest will be on Thursday, April 14 at Thomas Dale at 5.


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