Gilman (WQOW) – For the first time since 2006, the Gilman softball team is heading to Madison for the division five state tournament. The Pirates punched their tickets after defeating Hurley in the sectionals finals at home this past Thursday 9-3. And for a school and program that doesn’t have a lot state appearances in athletics, it makes this run even more special.
“I think it’s really important,” says senior third baseman Casey Webster. “Everybody kind of looks up to it, and everybody is really excited for us because we haven’t done it in a while.”
“It means a lot to everybody in the community,” junior second baseman Montana Birkenholz says. “We have a lot of people that come out and watch our games, cheer us on, and every game they’re here. I think a lot of people consider Gilman the underdog team, and everybody loves a good underdog story.”
But this team has been far from an underdog in their final stretch of the season. Since they lost to Loyal back in May, the Pirates have rattled off ten straight wins and are clicking on all cylinders. Their secret is simple, just taking it one game at a time and stick to Gilman softball.
“We just kind of calmed ourselves down and said we’ll take it one game at a time,” says Webster. “Not to try and get ahead of ourselves, not to push ourselves more than what we needed to. Just take it one game at a time.”
“A big part was sitting down that next night after the Loyal game and just saying, ladies how do we manage success?” says head coach Brian Phelps. “We talked about playing one game at a time, one inning at a time, one pitch at a time, and just not watching scoreboards and not looking at the standings. Just take care of business by ourselves.”
The Pirates will take on top-seeded Blair-Taylor in semifinals on Thursday evening. The first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.