The end of an era


Matthew Battle

Softball is awesome.

For 29 years, FVHS’s softball team has been a tough, gritty bunch of gals who love to play “Bengal Ball” for head softball coach Deborah Clarke. 

This year, the girls went 15-7, going 8-6 in conference, and finishing 4th place in conference. Coach Clarke in her last year as coach looked forward to an exciting season.

“We had high expectations but those got derailed due to injuries throughout the team and long-term injury to our starting pitcher,” said Clarke.

Even though the Bengals finished lower than anticipated, they still made it to the playoffs. They beat Heritage High School 8-7 in a thrilling game, but they sadly lost 7-5 to D.H. Conley High School.

Junior catcher Addison Smith is not content with the way the season ended.

“During the playoffs, we made lots of errors, and communication between the group wasn’t there. But nevertheless, we did the best we could with the cards that were dealt to us,” said Addison Smith.

Lots of things didn’t go the way they were planned, but it was a magical year for the coach and the seniors.

Junior centerfielder Kenzie Smith enjoyed the season with all of her amazing friends on the team.

“It was sad that this was my last year with the seniors. I love all of these amazing ball players, and I can’t wait to see where they all go with their softball careers,” said Kenzie Smith.

But ultimately, senior pitcher Courtney Maddox thought it was a bittersweet ending.

“It’s sad that it’s me and Coach Clarke’s last year together. It was a very special season. She’s been such an amazing coach to all of her players,” said Maddox.

Coach Clarke ultimately is grateful to have had the opportunity to coach at Fuquay for nearly 30 years.

“It’s been a fantastic run. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I just love the kids here, making connections with the players, and all the people who support Bengal softball,” said Clarke.

Fuquay Varina thanks the softball team for another great season. We hope the best for Coach Clarke in her next chapter in life and hope that the seniors leaving continue to be amazing softball players and people in the world. They will always represent “Bengal Ball.”