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Ready for return trip

Everything seemed set up perfectly for Maplesville’s senior softball players—until bad luck struck.

Heather Chambers, Bayne Edwards and Katlyn Freeman were members of the squad that made the Class 1A state tournament last year with only one senior, departed third baseman Bridget Nichols.

A more experienced team this season rolled—winning 16 of its last 19 games—to another state berth, but suffered some injuries in last week’s South Central Regional Tournament.

Chambers twisted her knee and has been limited in practice all week while also undergoing therapy. Freeman’s quad still smarts, and Edwards was involved in a collision with a teammate.

Will the injuries be enough to derail the Red Devils?

“They’re tough, and they’re going to play through it,” coach Ashlie Harrison said. “Last year, our goal was to make state. This year, our goals are a little bit higher.

“And we’re not just going down there to win a game, either. We want to win the whole thing, and we can if we play like we’re capable.”

MHS will play Waterloo at 9 a.m. Thursday at Montgomery’s Lagoon Park. Win or lose, the Devils will play again at 1:30 p.m., and a third game could follow.

They’ll need two wins to stay alive and return to play Friday.

Maplesville assistant coach Chad Harrison said the team’s seniors this season have consistently come up with clutch plays and led their teammates.

The trio plays important defensive positions up the middle of the field—Chambers at catcher, Edwards at second base and Freeman in center field—and are important parts of the batting order—second, fifth and seventh, respectively.

“I think last year we weren’t as prepared,” Edwards said. “This year, we’re prepared because we made it to state last year. We know what to expect this year.”

Chad Harrison said that what the team should expect is stiff competition.

“When we get down here, everybody’s good,” he said.