MOODY — Pitcher Kali Chatham remembers losing to Trenton in the fourth round of the Class 2A softball playoffs in 2015.
She said that Moody team should have won it all. After all, it had six-sport athlete Emily Bounds behind the plate, along with a talented group of underclassmen in supporting roles.
That year’s shortcoming is motivation for this year’s star.
“It definitely makes me more driven in everything,” Chatham said. “Not just softball.”
Like Bounds did before she left Moody, leaving a legacy for upcoming players to look up to is important for Chatham, who knows it’s about more than just her.
“I would rather them think of our whole team, that team was great,” said Chatham, a senior. “I want them to think, ‘We want to practice hard, put in work just like the 2017 team at Moody High School.’ I want them to look back and say, ‘Wow. That pitcher was great. Wow. That catcher was great, that first baseman, second, shortstop, third and the whole outfield.’ I want them to look at us all together as a great team, and I think we are accomplishing that.”
The 2017 Lady Bearcats are building such a legacy as they work their way through the playoffs. The next stop on the postseason journey for Moody (20-3) is a best-of-three Region II semifinal series against the Bells Panthers (24-2) at Fort Worth Brewer.
Chatham is a big reason the Lady Bearcats have reached the fourth round, leading the team with a .529 batting average and an 18-2 record in the circle. She had a 1.79 ERA in the regular season and has a 0.29 ERA in the playoffs.
But Chatham isn’t the lone dominant force. Battery mate Kayley Hale batted .500 in the regular season and is at .692 in the playoffs. Five other players are all batting above .300.
It’s easy to see why Moody has averaged 10.7 runs per game in its 20 wins.
“It starts with one,” senior right fielder Chassie Fisher said. “As soon as somebody cranks the ball, it’s contagious. The person waiting on deck is like, ‘You know, I think I’m going to crank the ball now.’ It’s like as soon as one gets going we are like, ‘OK. We’ve got to do this.’ And it’s always a different person that starts it.”
Fisher also started on the 2015 team and, like Chatham, is a multisport athlete who grew up in Moody. Both call softball their first love, and they played together in youth leagues. Along with most of their five senior teammates, they were on a 12-and-under team that won a state championship.
“To have that memory, we know we did something great,” Fisher said. “But winning state then really doesn’t compare to high school. But to just know we could go that far in that realm makes it seem possible we could go that far in this one.”
Playing together for so long and accomplishing great things early has its benefits.
“There is loads of chemistry between us because we’ve played with each other since (youth league),” Chatham said. “And to play on the same team in high school the past four years just adds to the excitement and makes it more fun.”
And it makes them hungrier to accomplish greater things.
“Just because we do love this sport, you want to keep going and keep going,” Fisher said. “You want to accomplish the next thing and keep going. You want to be able to prove everything you’ve been working for so hard on the field.
“It sounds cliché but we put our blood sweat and tears onto the field and we’re always hungry for the next game.”
Or as Chatham put it: “We don’t want to win it just for ourselves but for our teammates. We want those growing up to know it’s possible. Small little Moody, Texas, can accomplish great things.”