ENNIS — Building a varsity softball program at Ennis High School hasn’t been a walk in the park.
It’s was a plan nine years in the making with 2019 being their first season. Then 2020 hit, putting a halt to the Mustangs growing program.
“The first year was such a huge learning curve," Mustangs head softball coach Andy Thomas said. "It took all season to get acquainted with everything, the personnel, and get systems in place. Twenty-twenty rolls around and one week into practice the season is canceled, and It’s almost like starting over again.”
The pandemic may have put a fork in the road for Ennis softball, but overcoming obstacles is something the Mustangs are used to.
To get their program off the ground, it all started with a blueprint dating back to 2012.
“I have to give the credit to Jamie Lovett and Kellie Knack for starting the rec league program years ago," Thomas added. "It was their ambition and persistence that led ultimately to a varsity program here at the school.”
Jamie brought rec softball back to Ennis nine years, hoping that there would eventually be enough interest for a high school team; and there was, but it wasn’t that easy.
“We went to the school board in November, and they told us if we could raise the money for startup costs and the first couple years to run the program that they would give us a chance in the 2019 season," Mustangs assistant coach Jamie Lovett explained.
Jamie and her sister Kellie wasted no time drafting up donor letters and going door-to-door around the community.
"We went to the February board meeting and had way surpassed our expectations," Lovett smiled. "We had raised over $30,000 in that eight-week period.”
Fast forward to 2021, the Ennis Mustangs are in their second season as a program and just won their first-ever conference title.
“We’re a family," senior first baseman Jenna Snider said. "We’re as close as ever this year. We want to make it to state this year. That’s just the number one goal.”
“If the girls play the way they’re capable of, I’m confident that we can compete with anybody," Thomas added.