Mooney Making Most of Coaching Debut

The Archer City Lady Cats are the only Texoma team left in the softball or baseball playoffs this season.

Now ranked #6 in the latest TGCA poll, they'll play for a trip to the Class 2A State Tournament this weekend against #4 Hawley. 

What makes things even more impressive for the Lady Cats is that they're doing


this with a first-year head coach, former Midwestern State star Mallory Mooney.

Mooney says she couldn't have asked for a better debut season.

"Parents, and the community were really nice to me, really welcoming," Mooney said Tuesday at practice. But, she admits the transition from player, when she batted .352 in four seasons as the starting third baseman at MSU, to coach, hasn't always been easy mentally.

"It was kinda hard, at first, to come out here and coach," she said. "Because you know, it's more fun to play. I come out here with that same excitement and enthusiasm, hopefully that the girls will kind of get that vibe from me, so they'll come out here with a little more excitement, as well."

It was also a transition for the players, who had all played for the same coach their entire high school careers.

"We all knew that we had to prove ourselves," said senior pitcher Ashtyn Wuthrich. "We didn't have a spot coming back from the year before. I mean, anything could be changed this year. So everybody worked hard from the beginning, and we've continued to improve. And she's definitely pushed us as a team."

But both the team and their new coach adjusted to each other quickly.

"We got used to her really quick," said senior second baseman Ashton Dunkel. "She's progressed over the season, and she's become more familiar with each of the girls. And it's easier for her to know our strengths and weaknesses, as we've progressed through the season."

"We have all definitely developed a close connection with her," agreed Wuthrich. "As a coach, as a friend, everything. And I'm sure we would all love to have her playing out there with us. She's in it as much as any of us are."

The Lady Cats will face Hawley in a best-of-three Region I-2A Final, starting Thursday night at 6 p.m. in Hermleigh, just southeast of Snyder. The series continues Saturday at 5 p.m. in Bowie, with game three to follow, if needed.

State Volleyball Experience Helping Lady Cats

Archer City already made history once this school year, going to state in volleyball for the first time in school history.

Of the 13 players on this year's softball roster, eight went to state in the fall.

"It just showed everybody that we can do it," said Wuthrich, who missed her final high school volleyball season after summer knee surgery, but will play at the next level for Cisco College.

Fellow senior Ashton Dunkel did not play volleyball, instead focusing on equestrian, where she earned a scholarship to Texas A&M.

"We haven't all had that big-stage experience," Dunkel said. "But it's easier to have girls who have been at that level before. That way, we kinda know what to expect, from them already having gone to state once."

Coach Mooney said even though it meant she could only start working with most of her starters around November, it was still a positive. "I was kind of excited to get those same girls onto the softball field," she said Tuesday.