CHANDLER – The last time the Basha High School softball team won the Premier Region, Kailey Pomeroy was a player on the team. Now she is the coach and leading the team into the 6A state playoffs that start Saturday.
“I’m an alumni, and it hasn’t been done since 2011,” Pomeroy said. “I was a junior. It’s been cool to sit back and be like, ‘Hey I got to watch you guys do it again. I think it sets a precedent.’”
Team culture has always been an important piece for Pomeroy and her Basha Bears, who finished the regular season 21-4-1 and went 7-1 in regional play.
“We want to be good and we want to be all these things that we’ve been building on,” Pomeroy said. “With past players and past coaches, everything is finally coming alive.”
Pomeroy has prioritized making the team feel like family. The Bears are a close knit group and often spend time together outside of softball.
“We’re trying really hard to build a family culture – we have three sets of siblings on our team – but we’re also trying to create a dynamic where, ‘Hey I know I have your back’ or ‘I know she has my back,’ she said.
“They do team bonding, they have dinners every week where they switch from house to house. (It’s about) just making sure they show up and support each other outside of the softball field as were going through our season.”
Senior outfielder Alina Quinney and junior second baseman/outfielder Ada Martinez said they believe in the culture that Pomeroy is building at Basha. Both enjoy spending time with teammates outside of practice to help grow their bond on the field.
“It’s been very close, definitely closer than it was last year,” Quinney said. “While we do have little groups that work together and get along, it’s nice that I’ve been having more fun with the girls this year overall.”
Martinez said that approach “helps strengthen the program and the team so that when we do go on the field, our bond is even stronger.”
Pomeroy has helped her players feel at home with different activities on and off the field. She’s had each of her players create white shirts with the word “togethery” on the front of them.
On the back is a word that she wants each player to contribute to the team. Martinez put “unrelentless” on the back of her shirt. Junior infielder Gabriella Garcia she has a very specific five-letter word on the back of hers.
“Mine is ‘roots.’ It stands for five words: relentless, outworking, ownership, team and selflessness.
“These are a part of our practice jerseys and we wanted to write ’togethery’ because we play for each other,” Garcia said. “We play for the name on the front, we don’t play for the person on the back.”
Garcia added that “this is a home, this is a safe getaway from life itself. We have school, we have other lives outside, but when we step in here you kind of get a little relief knowing that we have sisters around us. We have great coaches who are willing to do anything for us.”
The sense of feeling at home with the others while on the field, no matter what kind of day they’re having, has led to a positive environment for Pomeroy and her players.
“We always talk about passing the bat. If the person in front of you didn’t get it done or they’re having a bad day, be the one to pick it up,” Martinez said.
“Be there for your teammate. Make the next play, get the next hit, doing your part to make up for what your teammate hasn’t been doing and they’ll be there for you when you’re having that day.”
Pomeroy has banded these players together to become a family. That bond and success they have shown during the regular season will be tested this weekend against Desert Ridge in the 6A state playoffs.