EDINA, Mo. (WGEM) -- In search of its first district championship in nearly three decades, the Knox County softball team finally broke through last weekend and emotions took over when the realization soaked in.
"I think everyone was able to take a huge breath," head coach Marcie Stansberry said.
"It was just kind of like 'finally.'"
Senior Rachel Poston says it was a big hurdle to overcome."
"(Winning) this year was a huge relief," Poston indicated.
"I was crying after the game because I couldn't believe it finally happened."
Senior Olivia Nichols needed a moment to take in all the surroundings.
"It didn't hit me until I saw everyone crying after the game," she said.
"I was like, 'Oh wait, we actually did it. We actually did win districts.'"
A team that features seven seniors knew that it was now or never and cashed in on lessons learned through struggles in the past.
"We came in the first day of practice focused," Poston told WGEM Sports.
"We knew what we had to work on based last year, and take those extra ground balls if we needed them."
Stansberry says her veteran players had to seize the moment.
"They realized that there were no second chances after this, and I think that was the big difference this year," she explained. "It was just them having that mindset that they're not getting another shot and this is their last chance at doing it."
With the stakes getting even higher the Lady Eagles continue to grind and put in the work that has got them to this point.
"We are going to take so much (batting practice) in the next two days to try to get on to that, to try to hit the outside pitch, pull the inside pitch, to make us all around better as much as we can," Poston noted.
Now the Lady Eagles will try and earn a state quarterfinal berth.
"We'll do what we can with what we know about LaPlata, which isn't a whole lot," Stansberry admitted.
"But I know that if we go out and play the game we have been, we'll be OK."
Knox County travels to LaPlata for Wednesday's sectional with first pitch set for 6 p.m.
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