Softball rallies in Allen tournament


Caroline Dolberry

The Lovejoy softball team high fives their opponents after the game.

This past weekend, the leopards softball team hit the diamond in the Allen tournament. Overall, the team went 4-1 in their second tournament of the season.

“I thought we had a great overall weekend as a team at the Allen Softball tournament,” head coach DJ Lopez said. “The girls seemed to be having fun and continuing working on being the best teammates they can possibly be. We have created some great chemistry where girls are understanding what it takes for the team. We have been super proud of them.” 

Game one took place on Thursday, Feb. 23 against Hallsville. The team hit the ground running in the first inning of play, bringing in three runs. Freshman pitcher, Izzy Guarriello, pitched the first two innings rounding out four strikeouts. Senior pitcher, Jade Owens, finished the last five innings of the game tallying three strikeouts and allowing five hits. The team closed the game out with a 5-2 victory.

“It was very crucial to start off the game against Hallsville with three runs in the first inning because it set the tone for the game and really kept us in control,” senior outfielder Elliott Pomeroy said. “We were all looking forward to the game against Hallsville, since they were the ones who knocked us out of the playoffs in the 2021 season. Starting off with three runs was a step forward for us because sometimes we start off slow in the first game of a tournament.”

Game two marked the team’s second straight game on Thursday, which took place against Plano West. Guarriello led the team in hits, one of which included a homerun, while also pitching the entire game for the team. Junior outfielder Kennadi DeBoer also rounded the bases with a homerun herself. The team concluded the matchup with an 8-5 win.

“I think this last tournament we really got our hitting on point compared to our first tournament,” Owens said. “We also just continued to grow as a team and get closer to each other which is what we really need for the season. 

The squad took on an undefeated Forney team on Friday for the third game of the tournament. Junior shortstop, Skylar Rucker led the team with two hits along with an RBI. Senior catcher Sydney Bardwell contributed one hit along with two RBIs for the leopards. The group was held to six total hits in the game and ultimately fell short, defeated 7-4.

“I’m a firm believer that as a team you never lose when you drop a game,” Lopez said. “Losses to great teams make you better and comprehend what it’s going to take moving forward to be a champion and how we can learn from the mistakes and be the best to try not to make them a second time. I was proud of our team because we continued to compete and score throughout the entire 7 innings.”

Game four on Friday was against Wakeland. The team had a field day with the bats bringing it eight runs from 11 hits. Owens led the team with three hits. Behind Owens, Rucker, Guarriello, and senior infielder Hannah Harvey all had two hits a piece. On the mound, Guarriello pitched five innings and struck out seven batters. Owens finished out the game in the last inning not allowing a single hit. The accumulation of batting and pitching contributed to the team’s 8-2 victory over the Wolverines.

“In the Wakeland game, we really wanted to show them we’re still better than them from two years ago when we played them in the playoffs,” Owens said. “I think we played loose and together and that’s how we were able to win that game. We really just stayed true to ourselves and played the way we know how.”

The tournament concluded on Saturday in a closing game against the Martin Warriors out of Arlington. The team tallied four hits. Owens pitched the whole game for the team with three strikeouts and four runs allowed. The leopards won the game 7-4.

“I think as a team, we have been really good this year about not letting mistakes get to us,” Pomeroy said. “Whether it be at the plate, in the field, or base running, we don’t let mistakes snowball into something bigger. If someone makes a mistake, everyone else will just work that much harder to get us out of a tough spot, and keep the energy up.”

The teams’ next set of matchups will take place this upcoming Thursday lasting until Saturday in the Barbers Hill tournament. The team will enter the tournament with a 10-3 record on the season.

“I feel like our team this year is really coming together and playing well with each other,” Owens said. “I also think we have all the talent we need to go far this year. We have all the pieces we need and by playoffs I think we will have ironed all the kinks out to make it, hopefully, all the way to state.”