Varsity Softball Crushes Pflugerville Panthers 16-6

Alex Reece, Reporter

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  • Eileigh Whyte ’21 pitches the ball.

  • Alyssa Popelka ’19 throws the ball to the pitcher.

  • Gabriella Garcia ’19 catches the ball.

  • Alyssa Popelka ’19 runs to the home plate.

  • Alyssa Popelka ’19 starts running after she hits the ball.

  • Haley Popelka ’18 ready for the pitcher throwing the ball.

  • Eileigh White ’21 slides down the base.

  • Alyssa Popelka ’19 prepares to hit the ball.

  • Eileigh Whyte ’21 pitches the ball.

  • Alyssa Polpeka ’19 runs to third base.

  • Chelsea Terranova ’19 gets ready at the bat.

    Photo By D. Voss

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The varsity softball team started off their week with an impressive win on Tuesday, March 20 against the Pflugerville Panthers, defeating them 16-6 after a hard fought five inning game. Despite the short number of innings, the game was far from fast as each took more than two hours to complete, with the Lady Warriors taking another win for their district record.

The Lady Warriors set up a strong defense in the top of the first inning with two strikeouts from Eileigh Whyte ‘21 and a quick throw to first from Natalie O’Connor ‘20. This would start the momentum that would carry the Lady Warriors to the end of the game. The second half of the inning was unfortunately just as fast, and both teams started the second inning tied 0-0.

“The cheering of the crowd and the cheering of my own teammates just keeping me going and telling me I can do it (picks me up),” Whyte said.

It was in the top of the second inning that the Panthers caused trouble for the Lady Warriors with a line drive double and an eventual steal to third base, leaving the defense with only one out and a runner in scoring position. Not long after, while the Lady Warriors were getting the out at first base, the runner on third scored which set the Lady Warriors trailing behind by one point (0-1). Whyte struck out the last batter and the defense went into the dugout and earn back the stolen run. In another short bottom half of the inning, the Lady Warriors stole back a run (1-1) after Quincy Jones ‘21 brought in Chelsea Terranova ‘19 before the third out was made.

The top of the third inning also proved to be problematic for the Lady Warriors after one missed throw that allowed a runner on second to steal home (1-2) and a shallow hit to the infield brought in another runner (1-3) shortly after. Luckily, the Panthers’ short streak was ended by first baseman Lizzie Taylor ‘18 and her quick thinking to snag a foul ball that was almost out of reach.

“I went all out for that foul ball, which was pretty good,” Taylor said.

After three consecutive singles from Haley Popelka ‘18, Whyte, and Taylor, the runs added up on the scoreboard in the Lady Warrior’s favor. The first run came when Terranova hit the single that brought in Popelka ‘18 (2-3), followed quickly by Olivia Meyers ‘19 who landed a perfect line drive double to score Taylor (3-3). Meyers also stole home (4-3), finally giving the Lady Warriors the edge they needed. A few singles later, the loaded bases and well placed hits paid off as the Panthers made their first error: an overthrow to second base which allowed O’Connor and Alyssa Popelka ‘19 to score (6-3). A few more singles and some stolen bases later, Jones and Garcia scored off of double by Popelka ‘19 (8-3), officially kicking off the “two out rally” that brought Whyte up to bat to  bring Popelka ‘19 home (9-3). This ended the third inning with a proper six point lead.

The Lady Warriors were more energized than ever as they completed the fastest defensive half-inning of the night with a caught foul ball, a play at first, and another strikeout by Whyte. The half-inning that followed was also short, but more rewarding with Popelka ‘19 hitting a triple to bring in O’Connor and Terranova (11-3) before a popped-up ball sending the Lady Warriors back to defense.

“I think the team’s strongest point was that we didn’t leave runners on base as we previously have and we hit everyone in,” Popelka ‘19 said.

The final inning of the game started with Popelka ‘19 making two perfect plays to first base, but a few hard hits and defensive errors allowed the Panthers to score three more runs against the Lady Warriors (11-6) until Popelka ‘19 secured her third out of the inning.

Despite the rocky start to the fifth inning, the game was far from over. After Taylor stole her way to third with Terranova following close behind, Meyers was walked and with only one out against them, the Lady Warriors found themselves at a perfect opportunity: bases loaded and it didn’t take the next batter O’Connor long to seize it. One hard hit single later, Taylor scored (12-6) with Terranova right on her heels (13-6). Even after Meyers was forced out at home, the bases were soon loaded again and things were only positive for the screaming dugout as Whyte was walked, advancing all the runners and scoring Jones to end the game 16-6.

“My proudest moment was getting the last walk of the game,” Whyte said. “The cheering of the crowd and the cheering of my teammates just kept me going.”

Taking this win in stride, the Lady Warriors will be facing off against the Cedar Ridge Raiders on Friday, March 23 at Cedar Ridge high school.