Westwood Horizon

Varsity Softball Burned by Dragons 7-4

Alex Reece, Reporter

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Gabby Garcia '19 makes a swing for it.

Despite a hard-fought game, the Lady Warriors lost to the Round Rock Dragons 7-4 in their ten-inning battle on Friday, April 13. With only two games left in the season, the Lady Warriors will now have to win both to qualify for playoffs.

The top of the first inning went smoothly with three quick outs thanks to Haley Popelka ‘18 who intercepted two fly balls and Chelsea Terranova ‘19 who caught them at first. The second half of the inning however, went just as quickly for the Lady Warriors with two consecutive strikeouts and Gabby Garcia ‘19 thrown out at first base after hitting a ground ball.

In the second inning with a tie score of 0-0, after the first batter walked and the other two bunted their way onto base, the Lady Warriors found themselves with no outs and bases loaded. This opportunity would not go unnoticed by the Dragons as a passed ball behind the plate sent the runners sprinting around the bases and gave them a lead of 1-0. Another hard-hit single from the next batter sent the remaining runners home and the Dragons sat ahead of the Lady Warriors 3-0. After, Terranova secured the final out and sent her team back into the dugout to continue the fight with new and improving results.

As the bottom of the third inning began, an improvement by Olivia Meyers ‘20 and Natalie O’Connor ‘20 sent two hits flying into the field, and while both were caught, they set the bar high for Alyssa Popelka ‘19 who wasted no time in hitting a line drive triple into deep center field. Following Popelka ‘19 into this “two out rally” was Quincy Jones ‘21 who scored her teammate (3-1) after hit a double to center field. As the stands and dugout screamed and cheered, Jones also scored (3-2) after Garcia’s hard center field double secured the Lady Warriors an edge on the scoreboard. The inning ended before the players could tie things up with Garcia getting tagged out at third base for the Dragons’ final out.

The top of the fourth inning was over almost as soon as it started with all three outs secured by Popelka ‘18 in the form of two strikeouts and a play at first base. This kicked off a brand new game for the Lady Warriors as Eileigh Whyte ‘21 hit a line drive triple to left field before Meyers could score her to finally secure a tie of 3-3.

The fifth inning did not start as smoothly as a Dragons’ batter slammed a home run out of the park to lead against the Lady Warriors 4-3. While this was the only run the Dragons scored for a great length of the game, it set a new goal for the Lady Warriors to crush when given the right opportunity.

While this opportunity didn’t come in the fifth inning, the sixth found the Lady Warriors 4-4 after well-placed singles that placed two runners in scoring position before they slid into home thanks to Popelka’s ‘19 double to the outfield.

“We were at our best in the middle to the end of the game,” Whyte said.

After the game was tied again, the four inning battle to break it began. The seventh inning ended as quickly as the others with three quick outs for both teams. The eighth inning had more excitement as O’Connor and Popelka ‘19 pulled off a double play from a Dragons’ error on the bases and give them another chance to turn the tide. Unfortunately, it ended in three strikeouts and both teams rolled into the ninth inning. Competitive defense brought the game to the final inning.

“We were so excited and hyped up,” Katherine Jenkins ‘20 said. “We screamed our heads off and had a lot of fun. I felt like the team really connected to each other during those innings.”

Even after Popelka ‘19 caught a hard hit line drive in the tenth inning, a bobbled ball from Whyte at first base allowed a runner on third base to steal home (5-4). Soon after, two more runners stole points for the Dragons (7-4) before Garcia made the final out by tagging a batter from a drop-third strike.

There was no grand slam or untouchable offense to give the Lady Warriors the victory they expected. Popelka ‘18 popped up a ball for the first out and Whyte stole third base after a hit to left field, but was tagged out at home. Lizzie Taylor ‘18 hit a single that brought Whyte inches from stealing, but couldn’t advance farther after a popped up ball from Terranova that ended the game 7-4.

Winning the next two games will send the varsity softball team into a longer season, so watch the Lady Warriors at their next game on Tuesday, April 17 at 7:00 p.m. and cheer them on as they battle against the Pflugerville Panthers for the last time in their 2018 season.

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