TROY — When a district championship has been part of your spring schedule nine times in the past 10 years, there’s a certain expectation that surely begins to form.
Anything less than a regional appearance suddenly becomes a shocking revelation, so to speak.
In 2012, when the Troy High softball team saw its season come to an end in a district semifinal, coach Tom Calnen and his team were forced to regroup.
In 2013, they have.
“You can never take postseason success lightly, but that can be a tough message to convey to girls when it’s all they’ve known,” Calnen said last week. “I think there was a lesson learned last season — a message that, come playoff time, nothing is going to be handed to you. We’ve got nearly the entire team back, and they learned you have to go out and earn everything you want.”
“Winning districts had just been the norm for us, and I don’t think we had the focus we needed,” senior Katy Krajenta said of the loss to Troy Athens. “It’s something we saw, but it’s also something we’re not going to let happen again.”
If the team’s play to this point in the season is any indication, the Colts will certainly be a contender, come the first weekend of June.
At press time, the girls were 13-3 overall and 3-0 in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division.
With equal parts speed and power, not to mention some solid pitching, the Colts hit the ground running when the season started, and they haven’t looked back since.
“We’ve got a good mix of youth and experience,” Calnen said. “But what I love most is the chemistry these girls have worked to create. Our focus is entirely on Troy High and what we can control from one pitch to the next. When we’re doing that, we’re at our best.”
Calnen said he’s not been surprised at the strong play, so far.
“I knew we had a chance to be very good,” he added. “And they still have the chance to be even better.”
He also called this one of his best hitting teams, ever.
“It’s an excellent mix of speed and power,” he said. “On top of that, the defense has been great, and Cory (Mittelbrun) and Taylor (Schmidt) have done a great job pitching.”
“This is one of the best offenses I’ve been around,” Krajenta said. “We have girls that, if they just put the ball in play, are fast enough to get on. We also have the bats to power the ball to the outfield. It’s been fun to be part of it.”
The Colts still have a number of tests to get past as the regular season plays itself out.
Since press time, the team had played four league games and still has three more before a division champ can be crowned.
But, as always is the case, the main goal focuses on winning the final game of the season.
For that to happen, lessons of last season must be applied to games of this spring.
“We’ll be in the mix,” Calnen said. “The district is tougher than it’s been in the past, and we know that. The regional will be insane, if we are fortunate to get there. But with all that said, if we play like we can, we’ll be right there with a chance.”