Varsity Softball Team Kicks Off Season With 11-3 Win

Nicolle Duvall, Reporter

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Long hours of field practice, followed by hang-cleans and bench presses in the weight room, have led up to the Lady Warriors’ determination in pursuing a district championship. In their first scrimmage against Georgetown High School on Wednesday, Feb. 1, the varsity softball team kicked off the season with an astounding 11-3 win.

“For a season opener, the energy level was high and the team came out with a ‘score-first’ mentality,” head coach Tiffany Gates said. “Ten hits, nine walks, 21 quality-at-bats, and eight stolen bases made for an efficient night.”

With district games drawing near, the team has been preparing for the new season through multiple tournaments against Vista Ridge, Elgin, and Belton High School. Before officially starting district games, the varsity team will be competing in the Bryan High School tournament Thursday, Feb. 16, through Saturday, Feb. 18.

Despite the recent departure of short stop and center fielder Alyssa Popelka ‘19, who has moved to Bryan, the team will continue in their pursuit of a successful season.

“Everybody in the infield and the outfield is doing really well,” Natalie O’Connor ‘20 said. “We’ve worked hard coming into this season.”

Second pitcher O’Connor has been stepping up for the varsity team and pitching her first high school games.

“I hope I don’t mess up a lot,” O’Connor said. “I’m excited yet nervous for this season.”

Since last season, the team has shown significant improvement as seen in their most recent scrimmages. Coach Gates was more than satisfied with the results of the scrimmage in Georgetown.

“I was pleased with our aggressive base running and run production,” Coach Gates said. Pitcher Haley Popelka [‘19] made good adjustments; keeping the ball on the ground and racking up seven strikeouts. She finished five complete innings with a .40 ERA.”

According to assistant coach Brissa Ochoa, much of the team’s improvement this season resulted from becoming more outspoken.

“I think the leadership is a huge part of that also,” Coach Ochoa said. “They actually have a say and they have their voice. They voice whatever they think needs to happen, in a positive way.”

Overall, the team is looking forward to representing Westwood in their first district game against Hutto High School on Tuesday, Feb. 28.