ANDERSON, Ind. —
Yet, with an experienced group with its sights set on a very high goal, Kelley said there’s always a chance for an upset. Riverfield won the District 6 Tournament back on June 5, taking down Rush County to move onto state.
During the layoff, Kelley has continued holding practices five days a week, but he said he’s been focusing just as much on what his players are thinking between their ears as what they can do on the diamond.
“That first game will be the test on where they are mentally,” Kelley said. “We talk to them every day about being prepared and getting rested and doing your best to stay focused on the field, but sometimes when you have a break or we’ve won so easily in the district, you can have a letdown.
“You never know till they show up what team you’ve got and how well you’ve prepared until you get there.”
On paper, Kelley said he thinks this year’s team can match up head-to-toe with the squad that made it all the way to Portland. At this level, though, he said any team at the state-level can hit and pitch, and he thinks Riverfield has made great strides in their defense around the diamond – the key difference between a good and great team in the post season, Kelley said.
But he added that honed skills and the right mindset can only get teams so far.
“I think last year was just a magical team,” Kelley said. “I don’t want to downplay this team, because I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t think we could go that far too, but it’s a little bit of luck and skill.”
Kelley said his message to his girls over the past month has been the same old cliché, “One game at a time,” but he also admitted after such an impressive season just a year ago, the bar has been raised. The stakes to make it back to Portland are even higher.