Scurry Rosser — Despite a 0-3 start to their season after dropping game three to Maypearl in a 6-4 thriller. Head softball coach Wayne Rowe, and assistant coaches Tina Richards and Michael Chambers, kept their team moving forward and into a two-day tournament in Scurry Rosser where Italy seemed to find their rhythm and improve their overall record to 3-5. What a difference a weekend makes!
On Friday, Italy defeated 2A Palmer 8-5 with Madison Washington and Kelsey Nelson both hitting doubles and pitcher Jaclynn Lewis delivering 8 strikeouts. Italy then took care of business against 4A West Mesquite in a 6-2 outing. Against West Mesquite, Lewis airmailed the ball over the right center field fence for a homerun and Alyssa Richards and Paige Westbrook each hit a double. Italy lost a close one to 3A Hillsboro in their third contest of the day by a score of 2-1. Lewis recorded 1-strikeout from the mound and Washington pitched 2-strikeouts against Hillsboro.
On Saturday, the Lady Gladiators rocked the 4A Terrell Tigers 9-0 with Lewis taking on the mound. Lewis got help from her offensive hitters with Italy’s bats beginning to heat up over the chilly weekend.
Richards, at catcher, not only threw out 3 Lady Tigers trying to steal second base, with the help of shortstop Paige Westbrook covering, but she also went yard clearing the left field fence which gave the Lady Gladiators an 8-0 lead. Richards also hit a triple earlier in the contest despite not feeling well coming in. “I got sick after eating at a restaurant.. I feel about 70% right now…maybe 80% when the game starts,” explained a pale but determined Richards before the call to, “Play ball!”
The defense by Richards and Westbrook was equalled by center fielder Madison Washington who showed guts by catching a high fly ball at the wall while on the move in a full sprint. Washington also caught a pop fly later in the matchup.
Lewis made a game defining defensive play herself when, with two outs, a speeding line drive coming straight at the mound was quickly snagged by Lewis. The sophomore pitcher then dropped the ball into the sand as if leaving a challenge for Terrell’s pitcher to try and follow that play up as Italy hustled into the dugout to grab their bats.
Besides Richards, Katie Byers, Morgan Cockerham, Westbrook and Washington had big hits during the battle as did Kelsey Nelson who belted 2-doubles and Lewis who hit a double as well.
Italy’s 5th and final game of the weekend came against 2A Scurry Rosser, the tournament host, in what was a rematch of a previous meeting meeting the two teams in which the Lady Wildcats managed a 2-0 win on Italy’s home diamond. The Lady Gladiators, however, are only looking ahead and came from behind to take a 2-1 lead midway thru with Richards leading the charge hitting a double.
Four strikeouts by Lewis and solid team defense held Italy’s advantage until the fifth. An overthrow by Italy in the fifth-inning allowed Scurry to reclaim the lead 3-2 which became the final score with the game being called after the fifth.
Overall, the Lady Gladiators were brilliant in their victories and competitive in their losses which is a great sign for Italy who brings home with them plenty of momentum from the tournament. Lewis was just ridiculous on the hill for her team, perhaps, better than ever as she never showed fatigue over the 5 game grind while her form seemed effortless and her accuracy dialed in. Lewis recorded 20-strikeouts total during the tournament. Washington showed her might also by pitching solid during a brief stint on the mound. For the most part, however, it was Lewis setting the tone. Offensively, Italy’s confidence is growing with every swing.
Top Lady Gladiator Averages for the Scurry Tournament:
Utility player, Bailey Eubank was unable to join the team for the Scurry tournament due to a steer show in San Antonio but will ready for the district opener in Itasca on Tuesday, February 26 starting at 4:30 p.m.