Everything had fallen into place perfectly, and Weatherford Lady Roos softball Coach Jeff Lemons could hardly wait.
It was March, 2020, and the Lady Roos were about to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the softball team that went undefeated, 34-0, and won the state championship in 2000.
Lemons, an assistant coach on the 2000 team, had just returned to the high school after almost two decades of coaching at other schools. He'd just been named as Weatherford’s head softball coach. The school had spent almost two years building a state-of-the-art baseball/softball complex that was ready for action, ready to be seen and enjoyed. Most of the players and coaches on that magnificent 2000 team had expressed their intentions to attend.
Then, the pandemic exploded.
Schools shut down.
Life as we knew it ground to a halt.
“COVID got us, and we didn’t get to do it,” Lemons said.
The Lady Roo celebration was one of a gazillion events that fell victim to the pandemic, but it was one close to Lemons’ heart.
Flash forward a year.
Lemons never doubted he would reschedule the celebration, he just wasn’t certain when. Now he knows. The timing, once again, feels right. The celebration is planned for prior to the district home opener on Friday. The modern-day Lady Roos are facing Boswell in what could be a preview of the district championship.
“It’s a huge game for us,” Lemons said. “I fully expect it to be between us and [Boswell] for the district title this year. That’s kind of the reason I scheduled [the 20th anniversary celebration] for that night, so we can have a good feeling out there, a buzz about it, and let the girls experience some playoff atmosphere and get to meet the girls who have done what they want to do.”
The girls who won the title in 2000 had made it to the state title game in 1999 but lost. They were crushed, and said afterward that they would win the trophy in 2000. Star pitcher Carrie Walker went a step further, promising that the team would not lose a single game in 2000.
They went 34-0 on their way to the trophy.
“They absolutely refused to lose,” Lemons recalled. “It was a special group. That is one of only about eight or nine teams in the history of UIL softball to be undefeated. It was a special year.”
Most of the former players and coaches, including former Head Coach Dwayne Ross and Assistant Diana Ulrickson, are planning to attend the ceremony.
Lemons, who graduated from Weatherford in 1983, coached at his alma mater from 1998 to 2001 before spending eight years coaching at Euless Trinity and 10 years at Aledo. He returned to the Roos last year, in part because he wanted to coach his daughter, who is a sophomore at the school.
Lemons played on the 1982 Roos baseball squad that was a state finalist. His Aledo softball teams won state titles in 2014 and 2015.
Now, he is excited to see his new team, which is undefeated at 11-0-1, begin district competition. And he's thrilled to see his old team receive overdue recognition for such a monumental accomplishment.
“A lot of these girls, I literally haven’t seen them in 20 years,” he said.
A celebration of the Lady Roos’ state championship victory will be held at 6:45 p.m. Friday at the Weatherford High softball field. The game against Boswell is set for 7 p.m.