Playoff Loss ends Historic Softball Season


Decorations for softball’s senior day 2021

Rarely do you see athletes and coaches in good spirits and congratulating each other immediately after a loss, but that scene played out following the Spartans’ opening-round playoff loss May 3.

While the loss, 16-1 at South View High, ended Sanderson’s season, it also marked yet another program first in a season filled with them. 

“Obviously that is not the way we wanted our season to end,” Head Coach Jarad Brown said. “Regardless of the ending, the history this group of girls wrote is simply magical.”

The Spartans recorded their highest finish in Cap VII Conference play in school history (third place) and earned the program’s first ever playoff berth. The condensed season also saw the Red and Blue earn its best Conference record in more than a decade (7-5) as well as knock off rival Leesville Road for the first time in school history.

Senior captain Jordyn Kettisack-Lee noted “[this season] means a lot! We have set a standard for Sanderson softball that has never been there before.” Kettisack-Lee added, “I know with my whole heart that this legacy will continue for the upcoming seasons. This was just the beginning.”

While the team enjoyed unprecedented success this season, there were several standout individual efforts as well. 

Five players were named to the Cap VII All-Conference Team (Reily Clougherty; Marlee Darlington; Caroline Levinson; Lily Thorpe; and Kettisack-Lee). Additionally, Thorpe became the first Spartan softball player to be named Conference Player of the Year.

“[Winning the award] feels great,” Thorpe said. “I am honored to earn it as just a freshman, however, I know it wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t have my team backing me up and cheering me on!”

As much success as the team enjoyed this season, the bond they share with one another might be even more important.

“Over the years being a part of Sanderson Softball has been an amazing experience,” graduating senior Haley Kahlman said. “This team is about more than just winning, we have a bond like a family. We win and lose, but at the end of the day we always have each other.”