Lady Leopards Prepare for Their Next Division 5A Campaign Under New Coach Brittany Lee
In the nine years since 2009 the Lady Leopards of Lovejoy High School have won their softball division an astounding six times. Any way you slice it, it is a remarkable achievement especially when you consider the number of regular division season games they play each year, fourteen, plus non division games, and of course, the additional high-stakes playoff games that always loom, they may play more than 30 games each season. Then, there is also the quality of their District 5A Region II rivals that includes Forney, North Forney, Poteet, Royse City, Wylie East, Highland Park, and West Mesquite.
Winning so consistently doesn’t just happen. It often starts with Lovejoy ISD’s Summer Softball Camps that take place every July for two groups of girls --- one camp for girls from Kindergarten through 6th grade; another camp involves girls from grades 7 through 9.
Head Coach Brittany Lee, a Haltom City native and Stephen F. Austin softball alumna and Coppell High School assistant coach until June of this year when she signed on to coach the Lady Leopards, explains that, “The younger girls, and we have 39 of them at camp this year, focus on developing their basic athletic skills. Learning, for instance, what constitutes an athletic position, how to properly execute a turn and then pursue a fly ball. Basically we want them to master the essentials, just very fundamental ball handling and running skills.
The older girls, we have 16 of them at this camp, will learn strategy and tactics as well as advanced skills like proper batting techniques, which means keeping your hands behind the ball and squaring the bat to the trajectory you desire.”
Lovejoy sports fans know that lady’s Volleyball and Basketball teams always seem to draw a huge share of Lovejoy’s athletic talent but Coach Lee encourages her team members to actively pursue roles in those and other teams. “I want our girls to show up for softball season in top shape. Playing either basketball or volleyball ensures that they will show up ready for the rigors of the softball season”, Lee says. Lee believes that the best athletes are those who are engaged in several different sports because, she says, “Playing two or three different sports really develops a set of skills that may not be fully developed from playing just one sport.”
Camp for the older girls was held at 2:00 pm in Mid-July. The thermometer nudged 102 degrees and there is no question but that the heat defines the nature of every practice. Every ten minutes or so the girls are made to take shade and water breaks; a special treat is getting sprayed down with cold water by one of the assistant coaches. Then it’s back to work doing stretching, balance, and aerobic exercises and then learning new softball skills. Despite the unrelenting heat though, everyone is completely immersed in each of the camp’s varied activities.
Based upon the enthusiasm and commitment of these campers, don’t be surprised when the Lady Leopards grab their next Division Championship and of course, there is also the very elusive State Championship.