When the No. 2-seeded Stanley softball team launches itself into the LHSAA Class B playoffs at 4 p.m. Friday, senior Lane Cloud will be cheering harder than most.
Cloud, the starting third baseman in last year’s quarterfinal loss at Frasch Park, won’t be in the lineup for coach Josh Foshee, but that won’t keep her silent. She can do little but cheer after breaking the femurs in both legs during a Christmas skiing accident in Colorado.
Through mounds of hard work, Cloud has since advanced from a wheelchair to two crutches to one crutch to taking tentative steps. The rehab is continues for the standout, who has spent two previous seasons in the Stanley lineup.
“Lane really pushed herself hard and we’re proud of her,” said Amanda Welborn, who has three daughters on the varsity squad. “She has set on the bench cheering on her teammates and her sister (pitcher Kiley Coud) unselfishly. She has been our one true motivation this year.”
Foshee said Cloud and her family have been big supporters of Lady Panthers softball since their arrival following her freshman season.
“Lane really loves the game, and her family has been around it a long time,” Foshee said.
With not a lot of outside entertainment in Stanley, the softball team is especially close, according to Foshee.
“They were used to playing with Lane in the lineup, so it was tough at first without her in there,” he said.
Seeing one of his players struggling to adjust also wasn’t easy for Foshee.
“It was extremely hard for me to see her in pain,” he said. “She has been the heart and soul of our team.”
Stanley (21-11) will entertain defending state champion Anacoco (17-11) in the quarterfinal round on Friday.
“They have the same pitcher as last year, but I feel that if our hitting is on, our defense is spot on — and a little luck — we have a good shot to advance,” Foshee said. “Our girls aren’t satisfied with just getting there.”
If the game evolves into a tight contest with a big hit needed to win the game, Foshee might turn to Cloud. She was inserted into the lineup recently against North Caddo and delivered a single up the middle.
“Lane will be with us every step of the way in Sulphur,” Foshee said.