CRAWLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) - The Lady Cavs made history back in 2019 -- becoming the school's first softball squad to reach the state tournament.
"We did make history, but there's always room for improvement," head coach Brooke Crane said. "Our goal this year was to do a little bit better when we made it."
"We come up short, but we were hoping this year to go back, hopefully go in stronger and maybe make it further," senior Kenley Posten added.
That mentality comes from a strong bond between teammates, coaches and beyond.
"We all really had this connection, so we basically knew that we all could do anything we set our mind to," senior Reegan Lively admitted. "We had God, we had all the support from our community -- we were just ready to tackle anything they threw our way."
Even with that feeling and that support, the message for this group remained centered around hard work.
"Don't ever look too far ahead," Crane said. "Take it one practice at a time, one game at a time and leave everything out there every time you get the chance."
Coach Crane never doubted that message would be sent loud and clear, thanks to a small, but exemplary senior class.
"Being a senior definitely put a lot of pressure on our shoulders because we knew this was our last chance," Posten shared. "We had to set good examples for the younger kids."
"Last year we finally made it to states because we looked up to our seniors for the past three years," Lively said. "So, we felt like we had to do that kind of justice to our younger classmates, so they could eventually build on that season."
"They're priceless," Crane stated. "I know they say they might not have been leaders up until then, but they've been leaders since they stepped on the field as freshmen."
The Lady Cavs, led by those three veterans, were ready to get out and compete. But, COVID-19 never gave them that chance.
"We knew that things were probably going to get bad, because we had never really seen anything like this," Lively said. "We didn't know what to expect."
"When everything got cancelled -- it just didn't feel real," Posten admitted. "We were so excited, we had a scrimmage that Saturday -- so we were only a day away from having our first real season experience and it never happened. It was just heartbreaking."
And whenever the sun shined down on an empty diamond this spring, they missed it just a little bit more.
"I just miss my friends actually," Lively said. "I just miss that bond when we all come together like -- this is what we do together -- we just play softball all the time."
That's just what this group did -- for four years. They made history together.
But, what they'll remember most -- and what they're most proud of -- are the moments in between at-bats.
"It was just, when I remember all of it, it was just how good of a -- bond the team had," Posten said.
"You know, the girls are awesome athletes, but the people that they're becoming," Crane smiled, "you can't ask for better kids."