Coming off a season in which they reached the second round of the softball playoffs for only the third time in school history, the Glen Rose High School Lady Tigers are optimistic that the 2020 season could be something special.

Head coach Kiel Miller’s squad will open the regular season on Monday, Feb. 17 at home, taking on Dublin (varsity at 6:30 p.m.).

The 2019 team was eliminated in the area round by Big Spring, losing 2-1 in their best-of-three series in Abilene. 

Last season in District 7-4A play, the Lady Tigers were 4-4 and placed third behind Brownwood and Godley to earn a playoff spot. They finished with a season mark of 21-15-1.

There are 11 returning lettermen, including seven starters — which gives Miller plenty of reasons to smile, knowing that his “young” team finally has valuable experience that should pay off in how they react when playoff time comes around again.

“The biggest difference is (having) another season under their belts. We’ve been young, it seems like, forever,” Miller said. “We had a really good off-season.”

Miller said that overall, his squad had had “lost of speed and strength gains” since last season.

He mentioned that in their preseason scrimmages, he has seen “a lot of power generated” by his hitters, particularly Belle McDonald, Kaycee Bock and Addison Nance.

With their pitching staff, the Lady Tigers will depend on left-hander Taylor McKenzie and Nance, who throws from the right side.

EXPERIENCE MATTERS

Miller said that the experience factor “gives us a lot more confidence. They’ve been there, done that. We’re shooting to win district.”

“The playoff series with Big Spring could have gone either way,” the coach said. “Now they know what it takes to win.

“With the experience we have, we can do more things than we have done in the past. I think hitting is always going to be one of the things we need to improve on.”

Beyond that, Miller said that the goal of finally getting past the area round of the playoffs would be “a big thing” for the Lady Tigers, and added, “We’re not stopping there.”