Melaney Anderson and her Westmoore teammates can't wait for Tuesday's Class 6A slowpitch softball state tournament.
“We're ready for it,” Anderson said. “We're really excited.”
A year after being knocked out in the first round, the No. 1 Jaguars start at 11:15 a.m. against Tecumseh at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
The senior pitcher is a big reason Westmoore enters at 37-2 and the favorite in 6A.
She's hitting better than .725, with around 20 home runs and 60 RBIs.
“I just go up there looking for a good pitch that I can drive,” Anderson said. “If I get a pitch I can get up, I'll try to hit it out; if it's just something I can hit on a line, then I'll take the base hit.”
Anderson puts just as much thought into pitching.
“Some pitchers don't realize what they need to do to beat the hitter, like making sure you pitch outside to a pull hitter or thinking critically about where each hitter likes to hit the ball,” she said. “That's something I'm thinking about all the time out there.”
Softball — both fastpitch and slowpitch — is Anderson's only sport. She started playing slowpitch when she was 8 before adding fastpitch around the time she was 12.
“It's a stress reliever for me,” Anderson said. “When I'm pitching, I can just kind of breath and play the sport I know I'm good at.
“It's really fun to know when you're good at something but can keep working to get better.”
Away from softball, Anderson spends as much time outdoors as she can manage — hunting, fishing, being around animals, playing tennis for fun, etc.
“That's just how I grew up,” she said. “I love being outside.”
For now, though, Anderson is focused on trying to help bring Westmoore its first slowpitch title since 2007 and its 10th overall.
Westmoore beat Tecumseh 7-5 in early April.
It wasn't Westmoore's best game but Anderson said it left the Jaguars confident.
“We were kind of moving slow and not fully ready,” she said. “They got up on us, then kept it tied for awhile, but we came through in the end.
“If we just get our hits and play like we can, we'll be fine.”
And Westmoore figures to be plenty prepared for a potential semifinal matchup.
They would face the winner of the Moore-Southmoore game.
“I've played with girls from all three schools,” Anderson said. “There's just a lot of good softball players around here and some really good coaches.”