Ranci Willis had an eventful 24-hour stretch last Friday night into Saturday morning.
First, the Guyer senior struck out a whopping 17 batters to lead Guyer to a 5-1 win over McKinney Boyd. The following morning, Willis was back on the Lady Wildcats’ softball field to sign her national letter of intent to play at Texas Tech.
“We joked about it on the bus that it’s the Ranci weekend,” Guyer coach Keith Medford said. “But the kid deserves it.”
And if that weren’t enough, Willis’ 17 strikeouts against Boyd also broke the Guyer single-season strikeout record. Willis has now struck out 211 batters this year, with one regular season game remaining on Tuesday night.
The previous high-water mark of 197 strikeouts was held by Guyer pitching coach Kylee Irvin, who led the Lady Wildcats to the Class 4A semifinal in 2009-10.
“That record has been intact for a while,” Medford said. “No kid is more deserving of this record, or any other accolade for that matter. It’s really fun to see a kid that puts the work in get rewarded like this, because Ranci has absolutely put the work in. There is no one that puts in more time outside of school, outside of select, on her own, than Ranci does. No one. It’s unmatched. It’s great to see that.
“We always say there’s no secret formula to this. Nobody is born a great softball player. If you put the work in, you’re going to get great results.”
Willis has certainly seen those results this year.
Along with her impressive strikeout total, Willis has led Guyer to a 20-3-1 overall record and 9-2 mark in the incredibly tough District 5-6A. Medford said Willis’ success ultimately boils down to her work ethic, adding she has steadily improved over the past four years.
“I think it’s how she’s grown into a pitcher,” Medford said. “She hits her spots, and the ball is spinning. If you have those two things, you’re going to have success. I think in these days, softball-wise, if you are spinning the ball tight and hitting spots, you’re going to have success. I think that’s exactly what Ranci does.”