The De Soto Pirates are hard at work preparing for Friday's game at State.
"Just really happy to have reached our goal, and to get this chance to play at State," senior pitcher Cassie Roach said.
De Soto last went to Madison in 2007. De Soto Head Coach Tony Paletta says this trip is completely different.
"I'm a little more at ease, I'm not riding the wave now. I'm preparing myself a little more, which hopefully will put the girls at ease, too," Paletta said.
But the Pirates have an advantage that stems not from field the itself, but from 180 degrees away, in the classroom, that began six or seven years ago.
"I had most of them in middle school, so it's kind of fun that they've known me for a long time. So it's kind of a good experience, they got to go through my math class, and now they only have to deal with me on the softball field," Paletta said.
His players say their current coach is just the way they remember him, as their former teacher.
"He was really good. Really understanding and taught us a lot," sophomore left fielder Eli Boardman said. "I feel like I can connect with him on a different level."
"He always gets me nervous with his pregame talks, but that goes away once we start," said Roach.
"I like to have fun as a coach, work hard. But the laid back, calm attitude, goes well for us," Paletta said.
But the one emotion he doesn't let show? How much he loves watching his former students succeed.
"I got to see a lot of them grow up not just on the field in their softball ability, but they've grown up to young women that are awesome. I couldn't ask for much better people than I have. They're great kids," he said.