WINDTHORST, TX (KAUZ) - The Windthorst Trojanettes are in the third round of the playoffs once again, something that seems almost like birthright in that small Texoma town.
But this year, they needed some players to step up after one of their stars went down with an off-field injury.
"Well I woke up that Sunday morning [April 22], too early for normal," said sophomore pitcher Laynie Brown. "Like 6-7 o'clock, and my stomach was just aching, going crazy."
"It was about 9:45 at night, and I saw her mom was calling me and I just knew," said first-year head coach Alyson Deatherage. "I was like, 'It's not a good thing when someone calls you almost at 10 o'clock at night on a Sunday.'"
It turned out that Brown, Windthorst's ace, needed an emergency appendectomy the week of their playoff opener.
"Not a good feeling to get," coach Deatherage said of the news. "About any coach's nightmare."
Brown was ruled out for at least the Bi-District round, so the Trojanettes had to improvise. They called on her fellow sophomore Brynlee Wolf, normally the first baseman. Before a few games this year, she hadn't pitched since fifth grade.
"That week when [Brown] found out she had to have her surgery, they asked me to step up," Wolf said. "I was like, 'OK I have to do this for the team, for the coaches, for Laynie.'"
Wolf pitched Games 2 and 3 of the Anson series, including a complete game in the decisive 16-9 Game 3 win.
"I mean, she has the build of a pitcher," Deatherage said. "And we were actually able to teach her two different pitches within a week, and she could throw them for strikes."
For Laynie, all she could do was watch from the dugout.
"It was really stressful," she said. "But I mean, after they got that first game done, it was just a big relief off my shoulders and like, they could do it."
"She's a tough kid," Deatherage said. "You know, I knew it was killing her when we were against Anson, sitting in the dugout, knowing there's nothing you can do."
After doctors had initially told her she could be out for the season, Brown wound up being cleared after just ten days, on the eve of their Area Round series against Miles. She wound up pitching the last inning of Game 1, and all of Game 2 to close out the series.
"The internal stuff healed faster," she said. "So it was just the stitches and if I could move and do normal stuff again."
"We were able to use her in kind of like a closer capacity, and she went out there and she looked good," Deatherage said. "So we felt confident throwing her for a full game on Friday."
"I knew she was nervous, and we told her there was nothing to be nervous about," Wolf said. "She can get the job done."
"The kids handled it perfectly," said coach Deatherage. "They did exactly what they were supposed to do. They weren't ready for their season to end, and they made sure she had a season to come back to."