Harrisburg Softball has been a pleasant surprise

Harrisburg Softball has been a pleasant surprise

Postseason gets underway for High School softball this week.

Harrisburg has been a pleasant surprise, 17-2 on the season.

So I made my way out to the Hornets Nest to find out why this team has been so dominating.

"We have one common goal, we want to win every game we step into," Harrisburg junior Jehlian Wright said.

Harrisburg certainly has swagger. This a team with a different identity compared to last season.

Harrisburg lost 5 key players from a 2017 team that went 18-11 and 7-1 in conference play.

Coaches didn't know what to expect but the mantra was next up....and they responded.

"We came in this year knowing it was going to be a rebuilding season. Anytime you lose that many kids and have to fill those spots it's pretty uncertain on how things will go and we did. We relied a lot on some kids that were biding their time to step up and they definitely did. Everybody has rose to the occasion and everyone that has been asked to play out of position has done that well," Hornets coach Chastan Carpino said.

"We've got some girls that have developed so much since their freshman year and now they are juniors and seniors and they are finally getting a chance to play and doing the best they can possibly do and showing everybody what they are made of and showing everybody their ability and they are not to be overlooked and they are playing their part and and they knew it was going to come and they knew it was going to come, but didn't know when but knew when it did they would do well," Wright added.

Their play has even surprised the expectations of their coaches.

"Asked my assistant why haven't we been playing them and it's a great surprise to have. It's a true testament to the fact that while they've been waiting for their spot, they've been working hard and have stayed ready and and committed to the program," Carpino said.

Harrisburg has been red hot too. Winners of 8 straight and over the last 3 games outscored the opponent 29-2.

"We have the aggressive mentality, lets get on base , lets not stand up there, we're not looking for walks and we also run the bases aggressively so that's what I preach to the kids base hits are going to score runs and win ball games."

Their only losses are to 5A Valley View and 7A Cabot. The Hornets may be a 4A school but they're not intimidated by anyone. They've beaten 5A schools in the likes of Paragould and Nettelton and knocked off 6A Jonesboro.

"We like to compete we want to show people who we are here at Harrisburg since we are a smaller school but I think we can compete with bigger schools so we kinda show them who we are," Harrisburg freshman Kloey Harlson said.

"I have a lot of kids that are leaders by example we don't have a lot of vocal leaders and I'm fine with that because they come out here everyday and just don't go through the motions they they push each other and I always thought the best teams are player led. They all have initiative," Carpino said.

"We have a lot of fun and we all mesh well together.  We get out there and the young players help a lot. We knew it was going to be a rebuilding year we didn't have any high expectations put on us or any immense amount of pressure, we just went out and had fun," Wright said.

Harrisburg puts a nice blend of youth and veteran play on the field. Together they've gelled. Even a freshman pitcher , Kloey Harlson, has put the team on her back.

"I love it, I want to do whatever our team needs to win because all of us like to win so I feel being a freshman age doesn't really define anybody, go out there and play your game," Harlson said.

We knew she was going to give us a chance to win some ball games but we didn't know coupled with her ability and the drive of the kids behind her have to win it's been a perfect combination," Carpino said.

"I'm really statistical so I'll look up everybody's stats and so I know what they're made of so at first I'll just get them to swing at my strong points and try to get ahead in the count and get to do what I do best," Harlson added.