HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Permian ready for bi-district series against El Paso Montwood

The Permian softball team knows that regardless of who it plays, the next game is always the most difficult one.

The same will apply to this week’s bi-district series as the Lady Panthers face the District 1-6A champions El Paso Montwood to begin the state playoffs.

The Lady Panthers enter this year’s playoffs after finishing fourth in the District 2-6A standings last week at 18-12-2 overall and 4-6 in district play.

It wasn’t easy to get into the postseason this year as Permian entered this season with a young squad, containing of only three seniors after graduating a bunch of players from last year’s district championship-winning team.

However, despite the young team, the expectations remained the same this year and Permian head coach Darren Pool is proud of his players.

“We had high expectations coming in and to make it back to the playoffs and our players answered it,” Pool said. “We have a young staff this year. We have only three seniors on the team, but our players answered the challenge to make it back.”

Permian will play all of the bi-district games in El Paso, starting with a 6:30 p.m. contest Friday.

Game two will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday.

If necessary, game three will take place just 30 minutes after game two on Saturday.

Pool isn’t concerned about playing this week’s series on the road.

“We’ve had a lot of road games this year,” Pool said. “That was in preparation of this. That sets us up to where we have to go and we have to perform. It’s just how the chips fell.”

Montwood comes in at 30-6-1, 14-2.

“Every week is tougher,” Pool said. “We go in and we know that we have to focus more and take care of business. It’s going to be harder this week and hopefully we can get past this one and have another challenge the next week. We just have to take our shots and hopefully play clean defense with some good pitching and timely hitting.”

The Lady Panthers clinched a spot in the playoffs after defeating San Angelo Central for a second time this season in a 4-0 win last Tuesday in San Angelo.

Permian closed out the regular season with a 6-5 loss to Midland High on Friday at the Ratliff Softball Complex.

“That was a big win for us,” Pool said of the win against San Angelo Central. “We knew going in that we had to take that win and get the sweep on them in case it came down to tiebreaker between us and them. We knew we’d have the tiebreaker over them. We played well on Friday against Midland High, but we ended up with about five errors and untimely hitting.”

Throughout the season, the Lady Panthers’ pitching has improved.

“We’ve improved from what we looked like in the early stages to what we look like now,” Pool said. “Hitting-wise, we’re still struggling at times when we have runners on scoring positions and things like that. We have to take care of the at bat when we have a chance to score runs.”

Some of the things the team has worked on this week have been fundamentals.

“We’ll work some more on hitting and our pitchers will get some throws in,” Pool said. “We’ll finish the week with some live intrasquad action before we head out to El Paso.”