After the Keystone High School Wildcats’ undefeated 32-0 2012 season with 20 shutouts and a state record of 45 homeruns, the team was named the No. 1 high school softball team in the country by, a CBS sports online enterprise. We talked with Jim Piazza — who was also awarded National Coach of the Year by ESPN High School — about the team’s work ethic, sacrifice and the one motto they held to throughout the season.

Q: You have coached this team for 10 years now. What does that role mean to you?
A: It’s not about the wins and losses; it’s about molding the young women into people who can be successful in society. It’s a joy to know that when they go on to college, graduate and start their own lives, you had a part in that.

Q: The Wildcats are the first team in Ohio to win this honor. To whom do you owe the credit? 
A: I give all of the credit to the players, because they are the ones who put all of the hard work, time and dedication into our program. But that also comes with the support we get from the families, the assistant coaches, the community, the school and the team. It’s a group effort, so technically it’s an award for everybody.

Q: What does it take to have a team that can achieve this type of accomplishment?
A: You have to first have a group of determined players willing to sacrifice everything that your average kids will not. You also have to have kids who will put in the extra time and do it not just for themselves, but for everybody. 

Q: What type of determination did they have?
A: Their motto was “refuse to lose.” They did not want to lose, and they decided they weren’t going to lose.