This week’s guest is one of the most accomplished players to ever put on a Boyd softball jersey and is in the middle of a dream season. After sticking things out when the program was in the doldrums, she is now having a magical senior season that has the Lady Broncos on the doorstep to making the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
Please kick back and enjoy the McKinney Courier-Gazette’s Sunday Spotlight Conversation with Boyd star senior captain Diana Murtha.
How does it feel to be in the middle of a dream senior season on a team that is continually surprising people?
Murtha: It's surreal, the fact that everyone is talking about us and trying to find ways of beating us is amazing. The atmosphere of our program has changed so much, we are very confident in each other and ourselves, we are having tons and tons of fun and just playing in the moment pitch-by-pitch.
We are proving everyone wrong again and again and people need to know that we will not stop until we get where we want to be, and that’s the playoffs. This team is the real deal – ask anyone who has played us.
We are a completely different team this year and if they think McKinney Boyd will be an easy win, well they’ve got it wrong and we will prove it.
Do you remember the game or the moment the culture began changing for the Boyd softball program after a couple of disastrous seasons?
Murtha: The game that I remember the most where everything started changing for us was the second round of district last year against Allen. The walk-off win in the bottom of the seventh was when we knew what we were capable of.
We knew that we could win and that’s what we brought into this year. We played every game with every ounce of hard work and heart we have, and it shows. We are beating some of the best teams in the area and now we are one of the best teams in the area.
What made you stay committed to the program even when it wasn’t winning games and was winless in district earlier in your career?
Murtha: I've stayed committed to the program because of the girls, coaches and my passion for softball. This sport has given me some of my best friends and the best memories I've had in high school.
I love softball so much it is a very big part of my life, and I'm not going to walk away from something just because we were losing. Yes, it was hard, and I hated every loss we had, but it prepared me mentally and pushed all of us and myself that much harder to win and prove everyone wrong.
How excited are you to be taking your talents to the University of Nebraska Omaha next season and what led to you signing on the dotted line with them?
Murtha: Yes, I am very excited to be going up to Omaha. I fell in love with the school the minute I stepped on campus – the atmosphere, the education and pride in the school was everything I was looking for and it felt like home. When I met the team and got to know the coaches, they sealed the deal.
I have worked so hard all my life to fulfill my dream of playing softball in college and I believe the University of Omaha will help me fulfill that dream.
Describe the mindset you bring to the diamond knowing that everyone is counting on you to deliver at the plate and in the field.
Murtha: Well, I go into my at-bats with a very simple mindset: see ball, hit ball. I try not to put so much pressure on myself because when I do, I start thinking too much.
But I go up with the mindset that I will hit the ball, and every at bat it is the same mindset because in this game we fail more than we succeed, and we have to be confident in ourselves every at-bat in order to succeed. Well, at least for me.
The mindset I have on defense is to help the girls around me improve. Our defense has been a little shaky over the years and every single girl has committed herself to playing at the top level every inning.
As a senior leader, I look to help the girls and myself on the field by talking nonstop and helping them be in the right spots before every pitch. My mindset for myself is simple: Just like hitting, stop every ball the comes to me and communicate with the girls across the field.
What are you going to miss most about playing softball for Boyd and what does it mean to you to wear the Lady Broncos’ No. 7 jersey?
Murtha: I'm going to miss all the girls. This year has been my favorite year so far, we all have such good friendships and we all have fun all the time. We have dance parties at practice, play football before games, team dinners and everything else has just been the best.
We all love each other, and the game of softball and it shows on the field. It means a lot to wear No. 7 – seven has become a household name for me. It’s been there for me since my freshman year and has really helped people pick me out and know who I am.
Who has had the biggest impact on your career and who will you miss the most once you leave for Omaha this summer?
Murtha: The people who have had the biggest impact on my life is my family. My mom always supporting me, driving me around all over the country, coming to every single game and just being there when I need her most.
My dad being my coach all my life, pushing me to be the best player I can be. Training nonstop, working to improve my game with him, bonding over the game and having fun. My dad is one of the main reasons for my success and I thank him every day for dealing with me day in and day out.
Lastly my brother who has been my role model all my life. I wanted to be like him so much that I even used to be a baseball pitcher, until I switched to softball and was a utility. But he has also coached me all my life, teaching me about the mental and physical side of the game.
Explaining things to me in a way my dad could not, and always being there for me helping me get through anything. I am going to miss lots of people, all my family, my friends and my coaches.
What will it mean to you personally to be the captain of the team that ends the playoff drought for the Boyd softball program in your senior season?
Murtha: It would mean a lot to me, seeing as my first two years were pretty rough, then my junior year we finally began having some good games. This year, my senior year, we are finding success and we are now seen as the team to beat. Seeing everything that this program has gone through, and finally being able to win games and hopefully finding our way into the playoffs, would show and prove to everyone that McKinney Boyd will give you a fight and we will compete until we come out on top.
With it being my senior season, things are even better because there is nothing else I could have asked for: winning games, having the time of my life, making lifelong friends and just playing the game I love.