The Coloma softball team has already made school history, but come Friday, they have a chance to do much more.
The Comets play Saginaw Swan Valley at 1p.m. at Battle Creek’s Bailey Park for a chance at the state title. The softball team would be only the second team of any Coloma sport to even reach the title contest.
And get this; the team foraging into unchartered territory for the school's athletics program? It has only one senior.
"We knew this team could win some games,” said head coach Wendy Goodline. “We thought it would take another year to get as far as we've gotten, but they’re a talented group of girls. They love the game of softball. We knew that they were special we just didn't quite know they were going to get this far this quick."
A lack of senior players has not meant a lack of senior leadership. Amanda Swihart, the team’s lone fourth-year player, has seen the team’s ups and downs. Coloma’s tournament wins over South Haven and Lakeshore were the first Swihart has enjoyed in her career.
“She is a four-year varsity player she's played every game of every inning for us. I want it for her more than anything,” said Goodline.
“I feel proud,” said Swihart, “and I feel like this team, once I graduate, will keep it going and leave the legacy.
As important as this run has been for Swihart, it’s been even more important to the Coloma community.
“Every game we seem to get a few more fans, a few more fans,” said Goodline. “Tomorrow, they're taking us out on a police escort, so it's exciting. The community has really jumped in and supported them and seem to be proud of everybody.”
“I think the community's already proud of us right now but if we (win), it'll bring a new found respect to Coloma,” said pitcher Emily Najacht.
“We're a small town and the support feels good,” Swihart added. “All the people come out. People you wouldn't expect to really support us show us how much they've been supporting us. It's everywhere. They come to everything and they're really loud and it just gives us more reason to keep pushing and keep playing hard.”
And the team is not stopping now. They’re striving to make their community even more proud by bringing home a state championship.
I feel good,” said Swihart. “Like we're going to put up a 2012 banner in our gym.”
“It’s exciting. It's exciting for this group of kids,” said Goodline. “They've worked hard. “They deserve it.”