By Joseph Garcia
After nearly five months of playing basketball this school year – that included a run to State – there are two seniors who have traded in their sneakers for cleats full time to try and help replicate Liberty Hill’s success from the hard court to the diamond.
Outfielder Lorrie Potts and pitcher Kourtney Bevers have leaned on each other since they were young girls for reinforcement and companionship. Through wins and losses both in life and sports, these two have a special, unbreakable bond.
“Lorrie and me have a very strong relationship,” said Bevers. “I moved here in second grade and I think Lorrie’s been here since kindergarten and we’ve been friends all through then. And now we’ve been playing on the same varsity teams since our sophomore year.”
Bevers said that while each year some people might drop out of softball or basketball, she and Potts were the last two to have completed their athletic goals.
“We went through basketball and stayed with it the whole season and now we’re the last two to come to softball and actually stick with it for the whole season,” she said. “So, it really helps and means something to have someone there with me who is going through the same things I am.”
No one, other than each other, knows what they have been through personally and athletically. These life-long friends recently completed an extraordinary senior season, helping lead the Liberty Hill Lady Panthers to the State Tournament in Austin.
Now they are in full swing into the softball season, embarking on the duo’s final high school sports team journey.
Potts said the road through the basketball playoffs made their friendship that much tighter and also instilled within them the experience and knowhow necessary to win at a high level.
“I absolutely love having Kourtney there with me because just being with her all year, it’s like we never left each other 24-7,” Potts said. “We both know what it takes to get to State because we’ve been through it together. It’s just great to have that one person that you know is going through the exact same thing as you. We both rely on each other in softball as well.”
The 2012 basketball team finished with a 35-5 record (perfect 10-0 in District 25-3A). And won district, area and regional titles en route to the state semifinals where they took on eventual champs Abilene Wylie.
Once the glorious ride was over, it was time for Potts and Bevers to bring their winning attitudes as well as bats, gloves and arms to the varsity softball team that was already on the upswing.
Liberty Hill softball Coach Charice Hankins is pleased and thankful to have the pair’s services once again.
“Potts and Bevers have made a pretty smooth transition into our softball season and team,” said Hankins. “They brought in the confidence and experience of a long basketball run and the excitement of playing at the State level. They both have made immediate impact – offensively and defensively – and they are not missing a beat.”
Hankins said Potts is a great outfielder and attacks the ball on offense, while Bevers is a great leader on the field as the team’s starting pitcher.
“(Bevers) is very aggressive at the plate and on the bases,” Hankins said. “She creates a lot of scoring opportunities with her aggressiveness.”
The players’ transition from basketball to softball was not always easy, however, especially after such a long post-season run in the former.
“The biggest change is definitely the pace,” Potts said. “Basketball is obviously more of an upbeat-type sport, where in softball it’s slower. So it was kind of hard to transition from that fast-paced game to a slower game.”
For Bevers, one of the more significant changes is the pace, but also the weather.
“Going from basketball to softball, it’s weird to have practice cancelled because it’s raining outside,” she said. “There’s a lot of different factors in softball that you have to take into account that you don’t have to do with basketball. There is a lot of running in basketball. They are just two completely different things and making the switch you have to be in two completely different kinds of shape.
“It took a little bit longer (to make the transition) just because we were so deep into our (basketball) season to get back into it,” Bevers said. “But, I feel like we are in full swing now.”
Potts agreed, saying that since district started in softball, there was no more room to think about basketball. The senior said she is two feet into the softball season, without a doubt.
“In basketball we went as far as we could,” Potts explained. “So I am completely 100 percent here and I haven’t been thinking about basketball. It was a great ride and it’s over. Now, we have to win a district championship for softball.”
A third basketball player that can be found in a softball uniform is senior Jessica Green. However, Green, who earned a track scholarship to Colorado State, is concentrating more on track and field at the moment. The hurdle champ will make courtesy runner appearances for the most part this season.
While Potts, Bevers and Green come over from basketball, it takes nine to field a softball team. The team concept is something that Potts sees as the Lady Panthers’ key to success.
“I just really want to come together as a team and know that if we work together we can really achieve something,” she said. “We really would love to go to State this year, but we all have to be on the same page and come together.”
Bevers likens the softball team’s senior experience to that of basketball’s. She is confident the two squads can share the same fate.
“We’ve got a team of seniors on the team that are going to kind of help us get to where we need to get,” she said. “There shouldn’t be any other teams that can stop us from getting to State.”
Still, no matter what the rest of the season brings for the Lady Panther softball team, Potts and Bevers will have each other’s backs. The thrill of victory or the sting of a loss are emotions that Bevers said only Potts understands the way she does.
No other person has been there every step of the way since they were sophomores. And last year when the dyad experienced one of the toughest losses of their high school careers, it was only Potts who Bevers could turn to for comfort.
“Last year I had people come over with me from basketball to softball when we lost to Salado, which was a really hard time,” Bevers admitted. “I didn’t feel like they really understood because they didn’t love (basketball) like I did and Lorrie has the same kind of passion that I do. It’s good to have someone that I can talk to about anything, because there’s people that don’t understand what I’m going through and she does. She’s like my security blanket and it helps a lot.”
Hankins, who is also the Women’s Athletics Coordinator, said the two seniors serve as an example of the foundation of Liberty Hill athletics.
“Liberty Hill is very lucky to have such a great core group of leadership and high quality of impact players of this senior class,” she said. “They have helped all our sports from cross country, volleyball, basketball, softball and track. We have the highest number of senior participation on this year’s basketball and softball teams of any years past. So it goes with out saying that these kids have contributed and contributed a lot.”