Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 26, 2014

Might as well

By Travis J. Brown | Jul 19, 2012
Travis J. Brown

The Washington softball team has had a bit of an odd motto during its postseason run, which continues at 5:30 today when the Demons take on second-ranked Dallas Center-Grimes in a Class 4A state semifinal in Fort Dodge.

Washington’s fans even yelled it out before the team began play in the state quarterfinal game on Tuesday. On high school principal Erik Buchholz’s cue, all of the Demon fans in the bleachers yelled out, “Might as well.”

Seems like an odd, maybe even blasé, thing to say. It doesn’t seem like a rallying cry, more like something you’d shrug your shoulders and say if you had to perform a task when given no other choice.

But it’s worked. With the motto, the Demons have won 32 games, including the program’s first conference championship, and they reached the state tournament for the second time in school history. Once the Demons reached the state tournament, they figured they might as well get the first state softball tournament win in school history.

Now the Demons are in uncharted territory.

“This year is obviously a lot of firsts and things that haven’t happened for us or Demon softball,” Washington head coach Angie Shrader said yesterday. “We might as well do all these things. There’s no reason not to.”

Nobody’s really sure where the motto came from. But now it’s on the back of the players’ state tournament T-shirts.

“It’s just something that’s stuck with the team and it’s the motto for this season,” Shrader said. “We might as well win the conference championship. We might as well have our whole team on all-conference. We might as well go to state.”

“We just said it a couple of times and it stuck,” catcher Kaitlin Buchholz said. “We just said, ‘Why not us?’ The possibilities are endless.”

That’s odd considering a squad made up of almost the same kids finished 20-17 last summer. That team lost just two seniors, and with pretty much everybody coming back this year, the Demons could have done two things: they could have been the same type of team, playing .500 ball, or they could improve. They’ve done the latter, drastically, and currently own a record of 32-8.

“Last year we had a lot of kids in new positions and playing varsity for the first time,” Shrader said. “They were close last year. They want to go and finish things this year and prove that they are a good softball team.”

Because Washington sprang into the state softball tournament so quickly, and for the first time since 1997, Shrader is getting a lot of questions about her squad being a “Cinderella” team.

“I got asked today if we’re a Cinderella team. I don’t think that,” she said. “We’ve been winning games all season. I don’t think the kids think they’re a Cinderella team by any means.”

Don’t look for the Demons to turn into pumpkins anytime soon, because they haven’t been pumpkins at all this year. This squad knocked off the second-ranked team in Class 5A at that team’s home tournament.

Can the Demons upset the second-ranked Mustangs tonight? Might as well. They did beat third-ranked Carlisle in the state quarterfinals.

And if the Demons do that, can they win a state championship?

Might as well.

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