HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Lady Panthers looking to maintain success with a younger team

The Permian softball team is coming off an impressive spring that saw the Lady Panthers win district and advance to the area round of the playoffs.

If they’re going to replicate that success, Permian will have to do it with a younger squad this season as the Lady Panthers bring back five players with varsity experience after graduating 10 seniors last year.

Still, Permian head coach Darren Pool is upbeat about this season.

The Lady Panthers will begin this season Thursday at the Carrollton Tournament.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” Pool said. “We’re going to be young. There’s going to be a lot of new faces, but I think we’ll do fine.”

Of the 10 graduating seniors from last year, six of them were starters.

“We’re going to be young,” Pool said. “We’re going to have to grow and come together quick and mature all the way across the diamond.”

However, even with the team’s youth, Pool said this year’s roster should provide more options than in previous seasons.

“We’ve got some good hitters in our lineup,” Pool said. “Our pitching is stronger. Last year, we had two, maybe three arms and now we have four that can take care of business in the circle for us. We have a lot of youthfulness out there that can keep everything interesting and has built a lot of excitement. We have a lot more options on the lineup this year than what we had last year.”

Last year, the Lady Panthers went 23-11, defeating El Paso Americas in three games in the bi-district round before falling in two games to Fort Worth Boswell in the area round at home.

In both area games, Permian led before the Pioneers came back and won.

So far this year, Pool has liked what he’s seen from his team.

“They’ve all stepped in and done good things,” Pool said. “We’ve looked at several different lineups and several different positions and so far, everybody has answered what we need them to do.”

Permian will look to use this week’s tournament to quickly mature and find the right pieces to the puzzle.

“I’m just looking for the right pieces and for us to come together as a group,” Pool said. “That’s the main thing. We need to jell and get some team bonding at this first tournament.”

The Lady Panthers will also have to navigate a tough district once again.

“It’s going to be a tough district,” Pool said. “It was tough last year. It’s going to continue to be tough. You have Wolfforth Frenship, OHS and it’s going to be a cat fight to find out who the top four teams are.”