Softball clinches playoff berth in elimination game


Olivia Lauter

Sophomore short stop no. 5 Skylar Rucker celebrates junior pitcher no. 7 Jade Owen’s run to home plate. The Leopards will play in the bi-district round against Frisco Heritage.

The softball team huddled on the diamond in celebration this past Monday after a face-off against Wylie East. The team finished the game with a 4-2 victory securing a round one playoff spot.

“I think we came together and had the right mindset going into the game,” junior outfielder Elliott Pomeroy said. “We knew we were better than them and that we had to play our best to beat them. We played well and made our routine plays on defense and hit the ball well.”

Junior catcher Sydney Bardwell led the team in hits with three. Fellow teammates Pomeroy and Naiomi Pierson also came away with two hits each. All three players had an RBI.

“Going into the game we knew we had to have great, disciplined at-bats, be aggressive on the base paths, and play great defense,” head coach DJ Lopez said.

The team had 10 hits on the night which resulted in four runs.

“Wylie East challenged us from a hitting standpoint,” Pomeroy said. “Their pitcher likes to work up in the zone, which is one of our weaknesses that we chase. We stayed disciplined in the game and we were able to come through with base hits.”

Junior pitcher Jade Owens was on the mound for the entirety of the game, tallying eight strikeouts and allowing four hits in the seven innings of the game. Owens also hit a milestone in the game as she threw her 100th strikeout of the season.

“Jade pitched a great game on the mound,” junior infielder Hannah Harvey said. “She was laser-focused and hit her spots when we needed her to.”

This Thursday, the Leopards will take on Frisco Heritage in game one of a best of three series in the bi-district round of playoffs.

“When you get into the big dance or state playoffs, anything can happen and it’s all about how well the team has progressed and learned from the regular season,” Lopez said.

Heritage is 24-1 overall on the season, undefeated in their district and hasn’t lost since February.

“We will attack the game knowing that we need to control what we do and not worry about the other team,” Pomeroy said. “We just need to go in with a positive attitude and an attack mindset. We can’t let the pitcher get in our heads, and we just need to play how we know how to play.”

The team faced the Heritage last year in the third round of the playoffs sweeping the Coyotes in two games.

“I think we need to go into this game focused and have our minds set on winning each inning at a time whether that be making defensive plays for our pitcher or contributing offensively,” Harvey said. “We have had a lot of adversity this season and we still fought and made it to the playoffs. We need to believe in each other and our own abilities and the season can only go up from here.