Softball: Veteran-loaded Lady Cavs aim for district title
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 |
Coming off their most successful season in program history, the Lady Cavaliers softball team is not intimidated by the step up to Class 5A this season.
“I think we can go to state,” senior shortstop Riley Cunningham said. “Moving up to 5A will still be difficult, but we have confidence knowing we were district champs, and we’re planning on doing it again.”
Lake Travis has seven of nine starters back from last year’s 25-4A title team, and the five seniors on the squad have instilled expectations for this year and years to come.
“We’re one big family now,” senior Hanna Contreras said. “That’s something we haven’t had in the past. You can tell now. We have a lot of confidence; we feel like we’re kind of the underdogs, and we want to push through that and show people who we are and that we can hang, even though we’re just coming into 5A.”
The trust in their ability throughout the team actually puts Coach Christie Knox in a different position as she guides the team through a difficult nondistrict slate and a challenging 15-5A schedule to come.
“The great thing about our team is the girls are very, very competitive, and in a lot of ways, they’re their toughest critics,” Knox said. “Sometimes my role is not necessarily to get on them, but to tell them, ‘Hey, you guys are good, and you know how to do this; don’t press too hard,’ making sure they keep all that perspective and have that confidence.”
Senior catcher Makaela Williamson and sophomore pitcher Zoe Bacon – who shined as a freshman last season – enter their second season playing together, giving the duo a comfort level that grows every game.
“We know how each other works, and I know what she wants, and when she shakes me off, I know what she wants next,” Williamson said.
On offense, the Lady Cavs have five different players who have gone over the fence already in the early going, and when the defense is clicking, the Lady Cavs believe they can play with anyone.
The seniors have taken it on themselves to keep the team even-keel.
“It’s really important because a lot of are seniors, and we really want to win; we want to make this last year count,” Cunningham said. “We’re focusing on doing our best and winning and trying to have a fun time while we’re doing it as well.”
This season brings a state contender in district, Westlake, as well as strong teams such as Bowie and Anderson.
The Lady Cavs have been roughed up a few times so far in 2013, but that hasn’t lingered into the next game.
“I think it’s always good to have a really tough preseason,” Knox said. “Maybe lose a few, so you’re like, ‘Hey, we need to sharpen up; we need to get after it.’ I think all those experiences are good for you before district. It prepares you for that. You always want to peak at the right time. We feel good about where we’re going and what district looks like.”
Williamson echoed her teammates in saying that they haven’t thought of 5A as an obstacle to success this season. Numerous Lady Cavs have played with players from Bowie and Westlake on select teams during the offseason.
“We feel pretty good about it; we know a bunch of people on the teams,” she said. “We know we’re pretty good, and we can play and stand with those 5A teams. I expect us to be really good in 5A. We’re working hard every day and putting in the effort, so I expect us to go far.”
Over the weekend, Contreras showed the team’s pop with a two-homer effort against Rouse, giving her nine on the season already.
“We’re all starting to hit and find our old team,” she said. “If we work hard, and we have our A game and we focus, we can get pretty far.”
Brittany Tuck Tournament
Lake Travis went 3-2 over the weekend as a co-host of the annual Brittany Tuck Memorial Tournament.
The Lady Cavaliers got off to a great start on the tourney’s first day Feb. 21, beating EP Montwood and Lubbock, with Bacon tossing a shutout in both games.
Against Montwood, Cunningham had a single, double and homer with two RBIs, while Bacon drove in three. Williamson also had three RBIs in the 11-0 win. In taking down Lubbock 10-0, Bacon and Contreras went deep with Brascom adding two doubles.
Then on Friday, the Lady Cavs led Rouse 6-2 before losing 8-6 despite two homers from Contreras as she racked up five RBIs. Lake Travis then fell 1-0 to Bowie, a soon-to-be district foe.
Saturday, Lake Travis topped Cedar Park 6-2 to take fifth in the tournament as Contreras went yard again.
Contreras blasted five home runs during the tournament. She and Bacon were named to the all-tournament team.
The Lady Cavs are at Vista Ridge 6:30 p.m. Friday and start district play Tuesday, hosting Austin High 7 p.m.
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