STANDISH — Every year, they’ve gone a little bit further.

The ascension up the Class C softball ladder has been a steady one for the Telstar softball team, and there is only one rung remaining.

“Having been this far before, we know we’re going to have to play hard,” said senior third baseman Stephanie Tripp. “We’ve gotten there before. I know that we can do it, and I just hope that we do.”

The Rebels return to the state championship game against Central (Corinth) today at 11 a.m. at Saint Joseph’s College. The Red Devils beat Telstar last year, 2-1.

That loss has been a driving force for a team that lost just one senior. With unfinished business and a loaded lineup, Telstar has its sights set on taking that final step.

“The goal was to get back. You’ve got eight starters back from a team that went to the states,” said Telstar coach Jim Lunney. “I told the girls when we lose one game, people are going to say, You didn’t do as well as we could have.'”

Expectations were high and the potential for complacency was also great. Telstar has seven seniors. Jillian Kimball, Jessie Farrington, Liz Rosenberg, Tiffany Jordan and Kayla Mills all started as freshmen. With a 15-3 record and a regional title last year, it was easy to assume the Rebels could cruise to similar success.

Rather than take success for granted, however, the Rebels (17-0) have stayed focused.

“We all kind of back each other up,” said Jordan, the second baseman. “We make sure that we stay up and never get down, even if the other team scores a run.”

The path to another title hasn’t been easy. There has been tough games against quality MVC foes, but the Rebels got the job done. Many of the Rebels have played together since childhood.

“We’ve played as a team,” said Tripp, who along with Chelsea Cozzolino, is also a senior starter back from last year. “We kept our heads up. We never let down. We play really well together. We’ve been together for a very long time. We know each other’s strengths, and we play on that.”

“We get down sometimes on ourselves, but the attitude stays pretty upbeat,” said Tripp. “We sometimes get upset at ourselves and each other, but we always bounce back. We always know our team is going to be there for us.”

Lunney has his share of strong personalities on the club. They’ve pushed each other individually and collectively.

“Every day we step on the field, I tell the kids that I think they’re the best team,” said Lunney, “but we have to play our best every single day.”


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