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SYLVAN HILLS SOFTBALL | Morning game leads to soul searching

All it took for Sylvan Hills Lady Bears head coach Justine Gladden to rally her team after a lackluster loss to Pottsville last week was a familiar TV slogan to cap off what she described as a ‘come to Jesus” meeting on a lunch time bus ride to Subway during last weekend’s tournament play at Clarksville.

The Lady Bears had just lost to the Lady Apaches 8-3 in a 9 a.m. Saturday morning start, and Gladden was none too pleased with their performance.

“We didn’t show up,” Gladden said. ” We weren’t prepared. That’s all I need to say about that.”

Sylvan Hills had already beaten Ozark on Friday night, and the Lady Bears have had experience in morning competition.

“Playing in the morning is no excuse,” Gladden said.

On the way to the team meal, Gladden said both of her assistants spoke to the team on the bus about focus and about goals not only for the day’s tournament, but also for the season.

When both assistant’s had finished, Gladden gave her speech. She ended it as the bus pulled into Subway.

“I said let’s go in here and eat fresh,” Gladden said, “and then we’ll start fresh.”

When the Lady Bears returned to the field that day, Gladden said they were a different team.

The Lady Bears went on to win five in a row that day including a revenge 8-0 win over Pottsville and two 1-0 wins over Russellville to take the tournament title. The Lady Cyclones are defending state champs.

The Lady Bears stand at 9-3 and are gearing up for the meat of the conference schedule after spring break is over.

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