"We've been practicing since the middle of January," Tarver said. "It's been a long year. So, when the playoffs get here, we cut down on the amount of time that we spend working. Basically, we focus on ourselves right now."
Tarver named junior Allie Stephens as his probable starting pitcher for game one with sophomore Kelsey Keeton then slated to pitch game two. However, as he has done multiple times this season, Tarver said he is not adverse to switching pitchers for a change of pace mid-game, adding that they will both be available at any moment.
Unlike their previous nine meetings, this Graham series will be marred by tragedy.
Graham's senior second baseman Candice Martin was killed in a car accident April 16, and the shockwaves have been felt throughout the community.
Tarver said one of the Mineral Wells mothers has organized a condolence package on behalf of the Lady Rams softball team in honor of Martin, who by all accounts was not only a beloved member of Graham High School, but the entire town.
As difficult as it can be to inject sports into such a situation, there is little doubt that the Lady Rams can expect Graham's absolute best-possible performance when they take the diamond for the first time since the loss of their teammate.
"It's going to be an emotional time for them and they’re going to play with a lot of emotion and a lot of desire," Tarver said. "We've got to be on top of our game. We're definitely sympathetic of their position, but we've got to stay focused, because they're going to be ready to play.
"Unfortunately, in my career here, we've dealt with tragedy with a teammate. It's a tough emotional time. We've had that talk about how life is full of tragedy and loss, but as Christians, we understand that beyond our world, there's a better life.