June 1, 2012
Slogan switch may have helped D-I softball champion Sheldon

Sheldon's motto for the 2012 softball campaign, one season after winning the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title, was "New Year, New Team, Same Dream."

But as the season wore on and the Huskies hung on the precipice of not making the postseason, Sheldon coach Mary Jo Truesdale decided another motivational mantra was needed.

And she gives an assist to former Sheldon assistant coach Joe Henderson, the father of former Huskies stars and Jolene and Danielle Henderson. (Both are playing for top-ranked Cal in today's Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.)

"We weren't performing like we thought we should," Truesdale said. "Then Joe says, 'They just need to start believing in the right here and the right now.'"

So Truesdale had T-shirts made for the players and the coaches that said "Right Here, Right Now" on the front and "This Is No Joke!" on the back.

"The players would wear them in warmups and the coaches would wear them for the games," Truesdale said.

The shirts gave Sheldon a brief lift as the Huskies beat St. Francis 6-2 in what would prove to be a pivotal Delta River League game.

While they lost their final two league games to Ponderosa and Pleasant Grove, the win over St. Francis was enough to get the Huskies the third and final league playoff berth.

From there the Huskies outscored six playoff opponents 75 to 9, including Ponderosa 8-1 in the championship game, to repeat as D-I champs.

"Softball is such a mental game because it's such a game of failure," Truesdale said. "So you've got to work with kids on how to handle failure, and you got to find every motivational edge you can."

About the Prep blog

Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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