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Fort Knox -- Eagles host district tournament

by Gavin LaPaille Sports Editor

The Gold Standard
Fort Knox, KY | May 16, 2014

Energy is the word of the day for the Fort Knox High School softball team. The Eagles youthful roster has led to challenges this season, but with the postseason fast approaching, players and coaches hope to have things moving in the right direction. An inaugural rivalry matchup with Fort Campbell Saturday and the beginning of the 17th District Tournament Monday will offer the opportunity for the Eagles to display their development. Both games will be at home. “We are still nervous and very young,” head coach Rick Thompson said. “One moment you look at them and think wow, they’re making the plays with stellar defense. In another moment, something happens.” The Eagles have 11 wins entering the weekend, the second time in the last three years the program has achieved double-digit victories. One more would give Fort Knox its most wins during a season since 2008, when they won 19 games. One of those victories came over the team they will face in the tournament’s opening round, the John Hardin Bulldogs. The Eagles defeated the Bulldogs 3-2 in April, its first district win since 2010, and nearly beat them again last week, falling 6-5. It is the fourth straight year the schools will meet in the tournament, but this year, the Eagles hope to advance to the semifinals for the first time since that 2008 season. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. The team’s lone senior, third baseman Christina Rice, said it would be great for the program to move on. The winner will face top-seeded Central Hardin Tuesday, also at Fort Knox. “I did it in soccer it was the greatest feel-ing ever,” Rice said, “If we did it this year I’d be really happy to be part of something that isn’t done a lot.” How the team performs will depend on what version of the Eagles show up. Thompson said the girls have fought through adversity in recent games, and hopes they will continue to do so. “Sometimes the girls get down on themselves and bring everyone else down,” Thompson said. “Instead of keeping her up they let one person bring them all down. That’s frustrating for us. They have a good skill set.” Rice said the older players are doing their part to educate the younger players on the district tournament’s magnitude. “We want to come out and be competitive with these bigger schools,” Rice said. “We really can be if we play our game.” Before the matchup with John Hardin, the Eagles will host Fort Campbell in a double-header starting at noon Saturday, the first time in recent memory the DoDEA schools will face off. The winner will take home the inaugural Sisters in Arms trophy. Thompson said beating Fort Campbell and John Hardin would constitute a good season for the program, and this is one of the most enjoyable seasons he has had in 20 years leading the team. “I think the softball team has done a really good job of representing the school,” Thompson said. “I feel really good about how things have gone. I wouldn’t trade this group of girls for anyone.”

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