Hawks eager to get back into state softball chase


Published:

CARL KOTALA

They may have made program history by reaching the state final four last season, but to be honest, the Viera High School softball team had bigger plans

And this season, they’re even more motivated than ever.

“We’ve made it painfully clear to them that the way last year ended was not good enough,” Hawks coach Alex Breeden said. “That’s not what our goal was. Honestly, (we have) the mentality that last year wasn’t an end and this year is just a continuation of that same goal, which is to win state.

“We didn’t accomplish that last year, so it’s the same goal this year. We’re taking steps to improve on why we didn’t win it last year.”

The players are certainly eager to get after it again, too.

“It just makes me more excited to come back out here and start again,” senior catcher Taylor Jensen said.

There are two big reasons why the Hawks have a chance to reach their goal: Karyana Mitchell and Corrin Flajole.

The veteran pitchers already have proven they can shut down opposing offenses and are back with an extra year of experience to rely on. Whichever one is not pitching will likely be in center field.

Also back are senior catcher Taylor Jensen and sophomore third baseman Morgan Mordas, along with veterans Brianna Hatley and Taryn Aebli.

Add to that a group of freshmen who will be taking over at some key positions this season and have been very impressive so far.

That group includes new shortstop Delilah Datta, second baseman Anna Brait, first baseman Hailey Mix and left fielder Jace Jackson.

Breeden said the new players have impressed her with, “how eager they are to step into what we started last year.

“We have very high expectations,” Breeden said. “There’s a bar that’s been set and they realize that we’re not coming down to help them, they need to come up and rise to the occasion.”

Flajole believes the new players are not only good defensively, but should help Viera on offense as well.

“They can hit the ball pretty deep,” she said. “For some young girls, they can hit the ball really far. They’re really smart and they have pretty good game IQs so they pick up on stuff pretty quickly.”

The Hawks went 26-2 last year, reaching the Class 7A state final four for the first time in program history before eventually losing to Niceville.

Time to pick up where they left off.

“It was kind of bittersweet if anything, because we want the championship so bad,” Flajole said. “I feel like we want it even more than they did before. (We want to) come back and prove to everyone that we can do it.”