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Goal met, now what? Lady Jays getting set for bout vs. Troy

Jefferson City Softball beats Rock Bridge 3-0 to win the District Championship. (Kamen Entchev/KRCG 13)

JEFFERSON CITY --- Jefferson City 3, Rock Bridge 0.

District champions ... how sweet it is.

"We're super excited to win a district championship," fourth-year Lady Jays coach Zac Miller said. "At the beginning of the season, we asked the girls, 'What's an attainable goal you want to make?' The first thing that came to their mind was winning a district championship."

Goal achieved.

Okay, but now what?

You feel like you've won the race, but the race isn't finished.

"The thing now is to keep going and stay hungry," Miller said. "We're telling them not to be satisfied and I think they're re-focused, and hopefully the excitement will carry into Wednesday."

On the heels of their first district title in three years, the Lady Jays (18-8) will host Troy (23-4-1) in the Class 4 sectionals at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Vogel Field --- a rematch from a game just nine days ago on the same field.

That one didn't go well for the home team --- Troy 8, Jefferson City 2.

"We didn't play very well and we know we have some adjustments to make," Miller said. "We were coming off a long weekend (at the Carthage Invitational) and we threw our JV pitcher at them ... and there was a little strategy involved there, too.

"We were anticipating that if we did get out of our district, we'd probably be playing them again. I'm hoping that's an advantage."

Here's a an unquestioned advantage Miller and the Lady Jays have had this season --- Ehren Earleywine, the new district athletic director and one of the most highly-regarded Division I college softball coaches in the country.

"As soon as he got hired," Miller said, "I started texting him. I told him, 'Man, I just want to pick your brain.' And he said his door was always open.

"At first, I was a little nervous, I thought he might second-guess everything I did. But in our first meeting, that was one of the first things he said: 'I'm not here to second guess you.' He made me feel comfortable from the get-go."

Earleywine, if you didn't know, is the winningest coach in the history of the University of Missouri --- in any sport. In 11 seasons with the Tigers, he won 482 games.

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