CALLAHAN, Fla. – It’s a dilemma for the West Nassau High School that could have been a pretty tricky one. In the end, it was an easy decision.
The team is in the state semifinals, which are being held in Vero Beach. But because of inclement weather, the games got pushed back to next week with the Warriors’ game against Keystone Heights scheduled for 8:30 Tuesday morning.
"We keep getting the crappy hand with it pushed off and pushed off. So it's been more chaos lately than excitement but once they finally get there, I hope the adrenaline kicks in. And they are excited to go," Warriors softball coach Randalyn Bryant.
Here’s where the dilemma comes in: West Nassau’s graduation is at 7 p.m. Monday.
“I think they are both equally exciting. With graduating, we are moving into the next step of our future," senior pinch runner and outfielder Kaitlyn Lacross said. "But as a softball team, we have a chance to bring the first ever state title to West Nassau.“
In the end, it was no dilemma at all. The decision was put up to a team vote, and it was an easy one. The three seniors would walk during graduation, the three others on the team with siblings graduation would be on hand for that. Then, at 10 p.m. the team would make the four hour bus ride to Vero Beach. To the seniors, the decision came as no surprise, following the motto the team has had all season long.
“No soldier left behind means we are all one team, we are all one family. We all keep together, we all stay together. No matter what," senior middle infielder Emily Dixon said.
Senior pitcher Skylar Whitty added "We all make sacrifices for each other and are willing to do what it takes to be together as a family."
Because of the early start time, the team will have a 7:30 practice Monday morning to get used to it. Then with a long day ahead, Coach Bryant feels like there won’t be much time to stress about such an important game.
“I think there's going to be plenty of sleep on the bus. Definitely," Lacross said. " Personally, I'm not a morning person, so these morning practices are a little slow starting off. But once we get into the routine, we are fine. But knowing it is early in the morning is alright because we can get it out of the way and not have to worry about it all day long."
But there’s another dilemma, this one with another solution that was easy although not with the same result.
Coach Bryant is 39 weeks pregnant and scheduled for a C-section Wednesday morning. If the games had been this weekend, she had doctors clearance to go, but with them delayed further, she will remain at home when her team heads south.
“I knew Randalyn wasn't going to be there because of the game on Wednesday, so that kind of made me nervous about it. But I feel like we all have different tools and if we put it together, we are going to be fine," Dixon said.
"I will be here, with baby in hand. And I hope that on her birthday they will also get their first state championship," Coach Bryant said.
She also says with all the travel ball these girls play, this likely won't be the first time they have had a late night before an early morning. She thinks that might even be a benefit to help them win.
"They've done worse. I'm sure they have stayed up multiple times when they probably shouldn't have. I'm sure the adrenaline will kick in," she said.
"I was talking to my dad today who has coached a long time, and I'm hoping that it eliminates some of the nerves, that they don't really have time to think and they just go off what they are used to and their instincts."
If the Warriors win Tuesday morning against Keystone Heights, Wednesday morning at 10:05 they will play the winner of the Coral Springs Charter versus Hardee High School game for the 5A state championship, which would be the first in West Nassau softball history.