Last season was especially memorable for the Greenwood softball team. Some memories were bitter, but many were sweet.
Under first-year coach Stephanie Senac, the Woodmen enjoyed a lofty Class 4A ranking all season, including a brief stint at No. 1.
They finished 22-3 overall and won the Johnson County Tournament, breaking a 14-year stranglehold on the title by Center Grove.
Confident of contending for the state championship, Greenwood instead suffered a deflating loss to unranked New Palestine in the sectional. But that did not qualify as the biggest “might have been” for the Woodmen last season.
That honor went to Senac, who was due to have her first child just as the season was coming to a close.
Nine months later, Senac confirmed that, at that time, her team members were having a lot of fun with the possibility.
“The biggest question was always, ‘What if it comes during a game?’” Senac said. “My mom came to all the games just in case we needed to leave and head to a hospital. I wasn’t too concerned because it was my first, and I know that usually means
“But there’s always the exciting thought of ‘what if today is the day?’”
“What if,” indeed. Players were braced for, if not expecting, the possibility.
“The girls thought it would be funny if it happened during a game,” Senac said. “They were asking if I would have to call time out when I left, or could I just go. Or what would happen if I was in the middle of calling pitches, and my water broke?”
As it turned out, Senac’s new arrival came on May 26, five days after Greenwood’s final game of the season. Senac and her husband, Callun, are now parents of a girl named Kinsley.
Joking and happy endings aside, Senac admitted that being nine months’ pregnant while coaching a top-ranked team posed challenges.
“Physically I couldn’t do a whole lot,” Senac said. “I couldn’t demonstrate anything the way I normally would. I couldn’t run, at the end, and it was exhausting and sometimes painful as I got pretty big.
“It had an impact, but it worked out.”
Brittany Gray, a University of Georgia recruit and one of Greenwood’s top returners, said players sympathized with their new coach as she navigated the season while carrying a baby.
“There was much more she wanted to do but couldn’t, but we learned how much she cares about us doing well,” said Gray, the Daily Journal’s 2013 Player of the Year. “She is extremely nice but very intense on the field.
“She pushes us and wants us to be the best we can be.”
Senac is enjoying a lot of laughs and smiles as the new season approaches, primarily due to her new arrival.
“(Having a child) has been more than I imagined in every sense of the word,” Senac said. “It’s more exhausting, more stressing and more worrisome but also more amazing, more joyful and more fulfilling in every way. She has such personality.
“She’s such a happy kid and smiles all the time. Just this week, she started crawling.”
Senac, who teaches English at the high school, brought Kinsley to one of the team’s summer camps for a day and has brought her to a few open gyms. By the coach’s humble estimation, everyone on the team loves her already.
“She is so adorable. Everybody loves her,” Gray said. “I imagine before too long she’ll be a little bat girl out there.”
Senac can envision some potential baby sitters in the future among the squad but said having assistant coaches with families of their own helps create an understanding environment among the whole team.
She adds that this is something that will be helpful as she enters this new season in life, as well as in softball.
“We’re very family oriented and are ready to help each other,” Senac said. “I’m learning how to balance teaching, coaching and having a family. This is going to be a new kind of life for me, a new adventure.”