Never before has Central softball won more than 21 games in its 24-year program history — until now.
“It’s really rewarding knowing that all the hard work that we put in throughout the summer and in the season is finally paying off,” Central senior Myah Dwyer said.
The Indians got their 22nd victory of the season Thursday night with a 15-6 victory over Oak Park. That makes this year’s team the winningest in Central softball program history.
Entering the final weekend of the regular season, the Indians are 22-5. They will look to extend upon that this weekend at the Benton Tournament.
The district tournament begins next week, and Central is looking to win its first ever district title.
“It just builds a lot of confidence for us,” Central senior Jaylee Wilson said. “We came out hot this season, which is good, and going into districts hot is a good thing for us.”
Central head coach Kendra Hodgin is in her fourth season as head coach of the Indians. This year’s record-breaking win total is eight more than her previous season-high total of 14 in 2020.
“It’s just been super exciting to see the girls playing to their full potential,” Hodgin said. “We are just taking it one game at a time and trying to, if you’ve watched our Twitter, keep it rolling, is what we keep saying, and stay mentally checked in and keep the bats hot and play clean defense.”
The Indians are led by six seniors, including Dwyer and Wilson. Both will continue their softball careers at the next level, with Wilson set to join the Iowa Hawkeyes and Dwyer heading to Jefferson City to play in the MIAA at Lincoln.
With the combination of talent and leadership that the Indians tout, the team is coming into its own. Wilson said the team is coming together this year like it hasn’t before and playing for one another.
“Just having teammates there to support and know that it’s more than just a game at that point, it’s more for your teammates to keep playing, because you don’t want it to be the end,” Wilson said. “I don’t want it to be my last game. I wanna go as far as we possibly can go, and hopefully that’s state.”
As the season winds down, Dwyer said the Indians aren’t ready for it to be over yet.
“It’s gonna be really upsetting whenever our go is finally over because we’re not gonna be able to play with each other anymore,” Dwyer said. “I’m just happy to spend my last year with them and hopefully finish it out strong.”
The Indians will be the No. 4 seed in next week’s Class 5 District 8 Tournament in Parkville. Central’s first-round opponent will be Park Hill South, who the Indians have beaten by a combined score of 18-7 in two games this season.
With the momentum they are bringing into the postseason, the Indians said they feel this may be the year they can make even more history and claim the first district title in program history.
Wilson said it would mean a lot to bring it home for the first time and send the senior class out on a high note.
“Just to bring it back to our community is a big thing,” Wilson said, “and to show us that we actually have that Central pride that no one thought we had and just getting the win and taking the district home.”
Central faces Park Hill South in the Class 5 District 8 Tournament Tuesday at 5:30.