Guyer coach Keith Medford has tried to slow things down this season, hoping to enjoy every moment of what has been a special year on the softball field.
Medford, who is the only softball coach in Guyer’s 14-year history, will coach his daughter — senior Morgan Medford — in just two more regular season games before the Lady Wildcats begin their playoff run as the No. 3 seed out of District 5-6A.
Morgan Medford started for Keith Medford in the middle infield all four years of her high school career, and the duo is now hoping to make one last postseason run together before Morgan graduates in May.
Guyer will travel to play Trophy Club Nelson at 7 p.m. Tuesday before hosting Keller Fossil Ridge at 7 p.m. Friday in the regular season finale.
“It’s gone by way too fast, despite my best efforts to keep everything slow moving,” Medford said. “I don’t like that part of it, but I’ve enjoyed every single minute. It’s been really, really cool.”
Morgan first cracked the Guyer lineup at second base as a freshman, quickly carving out a role for herself in the middle infield next to shortstop Avery Williams. After proving herself as a reliable weapon early in her career, Morgan took on a bigger role as the team’s shortstop when Williams — who now plays at TWU — moved to Krum.
Morgan has locked down the position over the past three years while excelling as the team’s leadoff hitter. She hit .508 as a freshman, .556 as a sophomore and .510 as a junior, standing out as one of the state’s most consistent players at any level.
Making an impact for the Lady Wildcats is something Morgan dreamed of since Keith took the head softball job when Guyer opened after he spent 10 years coaching at Irving. Morgan grew up around the program and has been involved with all 14 teams that have taken the field in a Guyer uniform.
“It was pretty special when I finally got to take the field my freshman year,” Morgan said. “I had been looking forward to that ever since I was little, and just finally getting to play and be a part of it like that was one of my favorite moments. I started to realize all the work you have to put in to be good at this level, but it’s all definitely worth it.”
Being around the program since its inception played a major role in helping Morgan develop into an impact player as she aimed to emulate a handful of Guyer standouts over the years once she got to high school.
Morgan and Keith both pointed to several players, including Kylee Irvin, Layne Greenlee and Shayne Starkey, as those who helped mold Morgan into the player she has become. Irvin, who graduated in 2010, is now a member of the coaching staff at Guyer.
“Those three were super competitive, and they were obviously really good players, but they weren’t the ones who were going to play at a huge Division I program,” Morgan said. “They just worked their tails off, and I grew up watching them and always wanting to be like that.”
In addition to her talent in the field and at the plate, Morgan takes pride in serving as a vocal leader for the underclassmen. Keith said he can rely on Morgan to get the defense aligned in the field, and her energy in the dugout often sets the tone for the way the Lady Wildcats approach each game.
“They all look to her for that reassurance, and that’s probably one of the things I’m most proud of, both as a dad and as a coach,” Keith said. “The physical things are great — you always like having kids that are physically talented, and we have had a lot of them through the years. But when somebody is such a good teammate, that sticks out — whether it’s my kid or not.”
Morgan has continued to set the pace for the Lady Wildcats as a senior, posting a .477 average with seven triples, two home runs, 26 RBIs, 12 walks and 11 stolen bases. Guyer, which transitioned back to the loaded District 5-6A this season, is locked into the No. 3 seed with a 21-7 record and an 8-4 mark in district play.
With the postseason around the corner, Guyer is now focused on repeating the playoff run the team put together last season. After being knocked out of the playoffs in the first round in 2016 and failing to qualify in 2017, Keith and Morgan won their first postseason games together last year on their way to advancing to the regional quarterfinals.
The celebration after each win last year is something both will remember well past their days at Guyer. But both Keith and Morgan — who is signed to play for coach Mark Cumpian at Tarleton State in the fall — are focused on adding to those memories over the next few weeks before preparing for what comes next.
“I’m really excited,” Morgan said. “I always have it in the back of my mind, like when that last game may come, and it hurts my heart a little bit. But not a lot of people thought we would make it into the playoffs this year, and now that we have, we just want to keep building on it.”