Prep Rally | Tight-knit Bayshore Bruins right team to make school history

jlembo@bradenton.comMay 9, 2014 

BRADENTON

Bayshore's softball team won't be forgotten anytime soon.

Pioneers rarely are.

If the Bruins truly are building something special out in Bayshore Gardens -- and the smart money says they are considering just two seniors are on the roster for Friday's Class 5A state semifinal against Belleview -- this trip to Vero Beach, home of the state final four, won't be the last.

But it will be the first.

Firsts live forever.

And it's fitting that these Bruins are blazing the trail to Historic Dodgertown, where they stand a win away from playing from a softball state championship. Fitting because it's a special group, a group that looks like it's having a good time whenever it takes the field.

Looks, in this case, aren't deceiving.

"You see girls playing, even in the college level -- you go to school, you go to practice, then you go hang out with your friends afterwards," said catcher Kristin Staley, Bayshore's lone senior starter for most of the year. "I can say for myself these are my friends. I have a couple of friends here and there, but my friends are my softball team."

Teammates don't need

to like each other to be successful. They can argue and bicker all they want as long as that baggage is dropped once the scoreboard is turned on and players step between the white lines.

But harmony builds trust. And trust is essential, especially in a sport such as softball, where even the most dominant pitcher needs some help from the seven girls behind her and the one kneeling behind home plate.

Bayshore's bond is exemplified through Staley and pitcher Miriam Schmoll. The two make up a senior-freshman battery built on trust and friendship and have built a relationship that far transcends the softball field.

"Everything we do is together. It's amazing," Staley said. "I just have give her this look, and we look back at each other and I'm like, 'It's OK, take a deep breath; we can do this.'"

It ripples through Bayshore's entire roster. Coach Frank Luther sees it every time an infielder approaches Schmoll during a tight spot, assuring her the fielders have her back and everything will be fine.

And it's evident after every at-bat, when one Bruin stops on the on-deck circle to give a teammate a scouting report on the opponent in the pitching circle.

Bayshore's softball team is special simply because it is going where no team before it has: the state final four, the final stop of spring.

What's even more special, however, is these are the girls who did it. They won't be forgotten anytime soon.

Nor should they be.

John Lembo, prep sports writer, can be reached at 745-7057. Follow him on Twitter @JohnLembo1878.

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