Thompson aiming for another shot at state title with goal of consistency

Published 5:48 pm Friday, February 16, 2024

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By TYLER RALEY | Special to the Reporter

The Thompson Warriors are pushing to make another run towards a state title with a team that is filled with focus and has high hopes for themselves.

After a year where they went 37-13 and lost in the middle of the state tournament, Kevin Todd and his girls understand that with the talent they have, they can do some damage this season. They are ready to get out on the diamond and play.

“I’m really looking forward to playing somebody,” Todd said. “We’re at the point now where you want to get out there and play somebody different and kind of see where your weaknesses are, and your strengths. I feel really good about this team. I think we’re really talented. We have some good arms. We should be very solid.”

That talent does not come without hard work, and Todd understands that notion to the fullest. That hard work also leads to success, which Thompson has accumulated plenty of over the last few seasons.

After they fell a few games short in the state playoffs last year, the Warriors have a strong desire to make a run at winning their second state title in three years. Todd knows, though, that his team needs to find a level of consistency in order to be at the top of 7A.

“We were coming off winning the state championship in 2022,” Todd said. “Last year, our focus and consistency, I didn’t think, was there. We had pretty much the same team coming back. This year, I’m just looking to be more consistent, to go out and play the game and to see what happens. We’re wanting to be there at the end.”

One of the keys to consistency is having plenty of experience within the program, and the Warriors have plenty of veteran minds taking the field this year. With eight seniors on the roster, Thompson has a lot of players that are ready to step up when the time comes.

Two of those seniors in shortstop Dailynn Motes and catcher Laney Williams have been in the program since they were in middle school, and Todd hopes that the Troy commits can make some noise on the offensive side.

Even outside of the senior class, the Warriors have a plethora of younger talent that has a future at the college level with Indiana commit Aubree Hooks in the circle and a UAB commit in centerfielder Olivia Tindell.

That senior class, though, has grown a lot in Todd’s eyes. He is proud of what he has seen them accomplish over the years in his program, both personally and athletically.

“Watching them grow in their faith and helping me grow in mine together,” Todd said. “They came in as little babies and kids, and we got eight leaving as young women that I feel really good about.”

All of this veteran leadership will be vital to the group having success. With tough area opponents in Hoover, Vestavia Hills and Tuscaloosa County, the journey is treacherous as it is.

Thompson understands this, knowing it does not need to underestimate the little victories as they come about.

“We just want to be able to survive and get to the area tournament and somehow find a way to get out,” Todd said. “[The area teams] were all ranked in the top 10 out of one area. There is no other area in the state that can say that…We can just try to survive and learn as much as you can about them, and then hopefully we play them good enough at the end of the year to survive and advance.”

That all goes back to the message of consistency and working hard, and the entirety of the squad knows that every year is a new challenge for them. They understand that they should not look too far ahead.

As for the seniors, they know that their time is ending. Todd wants them to take away the family setting that they have been involved in, knowing that makes for the best memories after high school.

“As a coach, we want to win a ring,” Todd said. “Once they leave, the best moments are when they call you and come back and you see what kind of women they’ve grown into. That’s what I hope they take from our program, just that we’re God based and we work hard.”

As for what Todd wants, he knows that at Thompson, it’s a blue map or it’s a bust. He believes that his girls are going to fight hard for every out and run, as well as play with their faith. That’s what he enjoys about his team.

“Our motto is ‘Praise hard, play hard,’” Todd said. “We’re going to praise God hard and we’re going to play hard. I think that’s what you’ll see out of us. Our girls are going to show up and they’re going to get after you, and for the most part, they’re going to give you all they have.”

The Warriors will have a chance to put on a strong start to this journey when they host Moody in their season opener on Friday, Feb. 16.