Top-seeded Lady Lions tame Wildcats
By LPR Staff
Sugar and spice, and everything nice. That”s what little girls are made of.
Not these girls – unless “everything nice” includes steely determination, unrivaled drive and very, very heavy bats.
The Varsity Lions pulled off what many in District 17-4A may consider a coup, but what Lady Lion fans recognize as par
for the course, when they rose from a second-place seed without a playoff bid, and turned the season around and earn not only a co-championship, but a top-seed bid to the bi-district playoffs this week.
As the regular season wound down, the Lady Lions” playoff chances were crippled by a loss to the Elgin Wildcats during the first round, and a surprising loss to the Lehman Lobos on April 6, leaving Lockhart two games behind Elgin for the district championship.
Regardless, the Lady Lions continued to gut out the season, stacking up second-round victories over the San Marcos Lady Rattlers and the Del Valle Cardinals before facing off in the final game of the regular season with the Lady Wildcats.
Meanwhile, during their final week of play, the Wildcats fell in a shocking loss to the Hays Rebels, leveling the field and leaving a district co-championship within the Lady Lions” grasp.
To earn it, all they had to do was defeat the Wildcats. And the Lady Lions rose to the challenge. Twice.
Lady Lions v. Elgin
Tie-breaker for district”s top seed
The co-champion Lockhart Lady Lions and Elgin Lady Wildcats met on Friday, April 23 on “neutral ground,” the softball field at Pflugerville Hendrickson High School, to determine which team would advance to the bi-district playoffs on Friday, April 30.
Elgin made the trip with not only a powerhouse reputation, but with a devoted and occasionally unruly fan base. The Lady Lions, too, came with adoring fans, but also with a full head of steam built from the last week”s momentum, and an unmatched will to win.
The Lady Lions opened up the game with a power play, as lead-off hitter Brandy Stacks ripped a single to left field. A sacrifice bunt from first baseman Jamie Schulle pushed her to second, and when the Wildcats botched an attempt to throw Stacks out at second, she hustled across the plate for the Lady Lions first run on the night.
The Wildcats answered back with two hits in the bottom of the first, tying the score at 1. But the Lady Lions would not be discouraged, and they put together a string of hits in the second to increase their lead to 3-1.
Veronica Escobedo and Chelsea Capello led the rally with back-to-back singles. Then, Mackinzee Griebel drew a walk to load the bases. Stacks, a senior showing her mettle with composed play in a stressful situation, returned to the plate and clobbered a single up the middle to score two more runs.
Not even inconsistent and occasionally questionable calls from the officials could break the Lady Lions” concentration or stride, as they continue to defensively dominate their opponents, chipping away at the Wildcats” confidence little by little and keeping them from plating another run.
In the top of the seventh, junior pitcher Taylor Rives pushed an insurance run across the plate with a screaming double to the left-field fence, which scored Griebel.
The Lady Lions stayed defensively solid through the bottom of the seventh, when Rives and catcher Amanda Capello stopped Elgin”s last shot at a rally by retiring the Wildcat batters, “one-two-three.” Coaches also credit third baseman Chelsea Capello and Stacks at short for key plays that helped the defense hold strong.
The Lady Lions racked up eight hits on their way to the 4-1 victory. Stacks went 2-4 with two RBIs; A. Capello was 2-4; and C. Capello, Escobedo and Griebel each added a single.
By earning the top seed in the district with the victory, the Lady Lions earned a spot in the Bi-District playoffs, which will be held in LaGrange on Friday, April 30 – Monday, May 3. The Lady Lions will face Willis High School. The first game will be held on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Game Two will be held on Saturday, May 1, beginning at 6 p.m. Should a third game be necessary, it will be held on Monday, May 3, at 7:30 p.m.
Lady Lions v. Elgin
On Tuesday, April 20, the Lady Lion Varsity softball team became District Co-Champions defeating the TGCA fourth-ranked Elgin Lady Wildcats 2-1 in eight innings. Elgin entered the game with a loss the night before to the Hays Rebels, therefore, giving Lockhart leverage to tie Elgin for the first place spot.
Elgin scored one run in the first off back-to-back hits from Swenson and Adams. This was the only big rally for the Lady Wildcats.
Although Elgin led the game 1-0 in the first inning the Lady Lions came out like firecrackers themselves.
Senior Brandy Stacks led off the inning with a line-drive triple to leftfield, but was later picked off third on a ground ball hit by Jamie Schulle. With Schulle at first, Taylor Rives drove a 0-2 pitch long and strong to deep centerfield, actually hitting the top of the fence. Despite being waved to third, Schulle was unable to score and eventually, both runners were left stranded in scoring position.
In the third inning Lockhart pounded the ball to push the tying run across home plate. Freshman Mackinzee Griebel flared a ball over third base for a single, followed by catcher Amanda Capello with a tying RBI blast to the outfield.
The game remained tied until the bottom of the eighth, inning, when A. Capello returned to the plate with two outs on the board. She hit a single, and freshman Morgan Rives added a fading fly ball over second. Jarin Hazelett, who had entered the game as a pinch runner for Capello advanced to third on M. Rives” ball, leaving the inning with two outs and runners at first and third.
Junior second baseman Veronica Escobedo stepped into the box, and on the 0-2 pitch cranked a ball to shallow right field, scoring Hazelett and picking up the game-winning RBI.
The Lady Lions marked nine hits on the night, to Elgin”s four. Offensive leaders were: Stacks (2-4 with a triple); A. Capello (2-4 with one RBI); and T. Rives with a double. M. Rives, C. Capello, Griebel and Escobedo each added a single to the Lady Lions” tally sheet.
Senior Jamie Schulle led the Lady Lions in the circle, keeping the Wildcats swinging at her drop ball and lunging for the change-up. With solid defense behind her, Schulle retired six Lady Wildcats and only allowed four hits.
Lady Lions v. Del Valle
On Friday, April 16, the Lady Lions defeated the Del Valle Cardinals 8-0 in an early 5:30 p.m. match up. Even though the weather was quite dreary and wet, it didn”t stop Lockhart from crushing the ball and scoring runs.
The Lady Lions scored two runs in the second, two in the third, two in the fourth and one each in the sixth and seventh innings.
T. Rives slaughtered 13 Cardinal hitters from the circle, while only allowing two hits on the night. She was able to keep Del Valle swinging at the high cheese and backing off the plate on the curve ball. She also roped the ball with a powerful showing: 3-4 with two doubles and an RBI. Other outstanding Lady Lion hitters were Stacks (3-5); A. Capello (2-4 with a double and two RBIs); and Escobedo (2-4 with a double and one RBI). M. Rives, C. Capello, and Flores (RBI) each added a single, while Griebel tallied two RBI”s.
Lockhart v. San Marcos
On Tuesday, April 13, Lockhart rallied to beat the San Marcos Rattlers 5-2.
The Rattlers crossed home plate first off an unearned run and continued to hold the lead until the fifth inning.
In the fifth the Lady Lions were able to score four runs off a rally started by the energized C. Capello, who scorched a ball up the middle. Lockhart then loaded the bases with Stacks reaching base on a fielder”s choice and Schulle taking a hit by pitch.
With the bases loaded and one out, T. Rives sent a screaming ball to the fence for a stand up double to give the Lady Lions a 2-1 lead. Freshmen M. Rives and Mikaela Flores teamed up with back-to-back singles and RBIs to give Lockhart a 4-1 lead.
The Lady Lions scored one more run in the sixth inning to take a 5-1 lead.
San Marcos tried to stir something up as they scored another run in the seventh off a defensive miscue.
Lockhart”s pitcher, Schulle, then shut the Rattlers down ending the game with a strike out and a 5-2 victory.
Additional information provided by Alisha Homann