In just the second season for the Riverdale Ridge softball team, the Ravens looked like a team that was ready for the big stage.
Makenna Meyer was certainly one of the big reasons for that as she provided a spark both at the plate and in the pitching circle. There was a bit of a catch to her statline, however. She wasn't entirely healthy.
She suffered a foot injury the year before and during the 2019 season, she continued to have lingering issues.
"She had surgery and re-injured the foot again," coach Ray Garza said. "She actually played on a broken foot the entire year that hadn't quite healed correctly."
If no one knew about the injury, there wouldn't have been anything to indicate there was a problem. Meyer led the Ravens with a .535 batting average. She totaled 12 extra-base hits, two of which were home runs.
The numbers were pretty close to freshman Aubree Davis, who batted .526 with 15 extra-base hits and fellow senior-to-be Destiny Hackney who hit .520 with 15 extra-base hits. All three tied for the team lead with two long balls.
Where Meyer was even more crucial for the team was with her work as a pitcher. She finished the year with a 12-3 record, 2.40 ERA and totaled 141 strikeouts to just 20 walks.
"I struggled a bit after my surgeries," Meyer said. "But I'm the kind of person where softball for me is a therapy. Being on the field is like my second home and all that adrenaline in my body and the desire to get out and show everyone what our team could do gave me that extra push."
The Ravens entered the Class 3A softball tournament as the No. 5 seed, but Garza and his players believed that they had a chance to contend for a state title.
Being a young team on such a big stage played a hand in a 6-5 loss to Strasburg in the quarterfinals.
"That atmosphere as a whole didn't allow us to be who we were," Garza said. "It's that experience part. I don't know if we needed to learn anything but if we had a year under our belt (of playing in the state tournament). Not to discredit Strasburg, but I thought we were the better team, we just didn't play well that day."
The Ravens must take the experience they gained a year ago and prepare for a new challenge. Riverdale Ridge will being playing in 4A, which means there are new opponents on the horizon.
With Meyer fully healthy and the team having gained the experience of getting to the state tournament and winning a game, they're excited for what lays ahead.
"I'm very excited," Meyer said. "I want to see what new opponents bring to the table and see how we as a team can compete. I'm ready to see what we can bring to the table and who knows, we may get farther than what we did last year."
Only time will tell, but with Meyer recovered from an injury that nagged her all of last season, the Ravens have to like their chances.