What a way to earn your school’s first softball championship: 14 wins, 0 losses.
The McKinney Boyd Lady Broncos put the finishing touches on perfection last Friday with an 18-1 trouncing of North Garland. The perfect season was no surprise to third-year Boyd Coach Maureen “Moe” Fritz. She saw it coming months ago.
“Oh, definitely,” she said. “My ultimate goal was to go 14-0 because this program has never done that before.”
Before coming to Boyd, Fritz won two state titles in six seasons at Keller High. “I know what it takes because I’ve been there a few times,” she said.
Update: On Friday, the Lady Broncos continued their winning streak, defeating Richardson 22-0 in a one-game bi-district playoff game. The team next heads to an area round playoff game.
Said Boyd High Principal Rick McDaniel, “We’re extremely proud of them and all that they’ve accomplished.”
“This year has been a culmination of a lot of years of hard work,” he said.
When asked what stands out about the Lady Broncos, Fritz picked one word: “Consistency.”
“That’s the biggest thing you can ask for a team, is to play consistently,” she said. “They’ve done that, defensively and offensively. … And that’s led to our success.”
McDaniel notes something else.
"One of the things that impresses me the most is our girls win with class," the principal said. "It's obvious to me that Coach Fritz has taught them to always respect your opponent and to never try to demean your opponent."
The Lady Broncos (26-5-1, overall) haven’t lost since a 5-0 setback to Stony Point on March 3. Since then, Boyd has thumped opponents by an average of eight runs per game.
Boyd’s nearest district threat, Rowlett, finished just behind the Lady Broncos with a 12-2 mark. (Both losses were to Boyd.)
Fritz said the Lady Broncos showed no nerves last Friday against North Garland with their perfect season on the line. It was that 13th win over Garland on April 17, a 1-0 squeaker, that nearly ruined the sweet run.
“I think the girls had nerves with Garland at home because it was the last home game,” Fritz said. “It was Senior Night, it was Teacher Appreciation, and their teachers were out there.”
Her players agree.
“It was very nerve-wracking,” said junior centerfielder Miranda “Mo” McDonald.
With six freshmen, five sophomores, one junior and one senior, this squad is set to excel for years, though tougher competition looms. In 2013, the Lady Broncos move to the new District 10-5A, where behemoths Allen, Plano East, Plano West and Plano await.
“It will be competition every week,” Fritz said. “I’m excited about it.”
Fritz said offense is this team’s strength.
“The kids have learned to run the bases well,” she said. “They take advantage of any and everything, which is huge.
“Our hitting, we’ve played the short game, the long game - the long ball. We do it all and we can mix it up," she said.
Fritz cited McDonald, Jill Nichlas, Maddy VonHagel and Sam Stockford as big offensive contributors.
“Mo McDonald is just tearing up stats in our district, all year long,” Fritz said. “She’s hitting over .500, close to .600. … She has, I think, 38-plus steals. Jill Nichlas is behind her with 25-28 steals, something like that.”
The Lady Broncos’ defense is a force to be reckoned with as well, the coach says.
“We have a strong defensive team, outfielders that will dive or lay out for balls,” Fritz said. “And our infielders are pretty strong. I have a freshman third baseman, McKenna Henry, who is going to be an excellent player, a D-1 player, at the end of her years here at Boyd.
“Jill Nichlas, our shortstop, she has range that is awesome to watch, when she grabs one up the middle and throws the kid out at [first base.]”
First baseman Stockford is Boyd’s lone senior.
“It’s been fun, being my senior year, and [our team] just being better than everybody,” Stockford said.
Boyd has three freshmen starting pitchers, including Erin Riding, the No. 1 starter.
“She has gone in the bigger games,” Fritz said, “the tougher games, and she has done really well.”
Said Riding: “I love being a part of this program because we work together so well. I know that they always have my back when there’s a ball hit in play.”
What will Fritz carry from this season, no matter how it ends?
“I finally feel like it’s my team,” she said. “They all know how I run offense, how I run defense. It’s my program now and all the kids are mine.”
The Lady Broncos made the playoffs for the first time last year, advancing to the Area (second) round. This team’s goal, Fritz said, is to win state.
About the author: Rick Atkinson is a former U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot and commercial airline pilot who lives in McKinney with his wife of 23 years, Debbie. He is a freelance writer and cartoonist.