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Tradition-rich Keller aims for third straight state title

Keller softball is really good.

"We all have a target on our backs," senior Kasey Simpson said, "just because we've won state the past two years."

Like, several banners out in centerfield good.

"The journey is fun because, we're developing as a team," sophomore Brooke Davis said. "We're trusting one another. We're always there for each other."

But why are the Indians so successful?

"Tradition and strong bonds," junior pitcher Dylann Kaderka said.

"The bond is a big part of it," Simpson said. "Just knowing that each teammate has your back, and you can trust anyone on the team."

The tradition of success here at Keller goes beyond just these back-to-back state titles. Their first year head coach was part of the 2003 state championship team. Christina Gwyn pitched the Indians to a title, and now is calling the shots.

But she ratcheted up the intensity when she got here.

"Anytime you have a new coach, there's going to be changes," the now Gwyn-Barton said. "And even when you ask for change, sometimes when the change hits you in the face, you may not be ready. And... practices are harder. That was a change."

Perhaps they weren't ready at first. But they appreciate it now.

"Yes, offseason was difficult," Kaderka said, "but that's because we weren't used to all that. But as we progressed into the season, she's definitely helped us."

"This year we're focusing on the mental side of the game, and a lot of the little things," Simpson said.

Of course, the credibility of winning a state title herself doesn't hurt.

"She understands where we are," Davis said of Gwyn-Barton. "She's been in our footsteps. She's done everything we've been through. And she's really preparing us to be ready for every play."

And now they're knocking on the door of winning a title together.

"We have such rich traditions," Gwyn-Barton said, "but allowing them to also create new ones has been fantastic for them."

Keller plays Plano on Friday night at 7 pm, in the 6A Regional Finals.