The sophomore starting pitchers were sterling on the mound, but Westlake was able to manufacture just enough in a 3-0 win over visiting Lake Travis Friday.
Lady Cavs starter Zoe Bacon aptly shutdown Westlake’s high-powered offense as well, but errors led to two unearned runs in the early going. The fellow sophomore starter gave up just four hits and had seven strikeouts in the district showdown.
On the other side, Westlake’s Lindsey McLeod was dominant 16-strikeout, two-hit complete game effort as the Lady Cavaliers (16-8, 4-2 District 15-5A) were uneasy in the box all night.
“We came in pretty confident,” Bacon said. “We knew we had to hit the ball, but (McLeod) is a really good pitcher, props to her.”
Westlake (22-3, 5-0) manufactured a run in the bottom of the first, and added another in the third and the sixth innings.
Lake Travis didn’t get a hit until Riley Cunningham’s sharp liner up the middle in the sixth inning, and Makaela Williamson had a two-out single in the seventh, but McLeod promptly struck out the final hitter to seal the victory.
“(McLeod) moved the ball really well and we were just struggling,” Lake Travis coach Christie Knox said. “We were not watching the ball all the way, which is really not typical. We were fired up for the game and maybe pressing a little bit tonight. We’re a very offensive team but for some reason in these big games, I feel we get a little tight up there and put too much pressure on ourselves.”
Bacon gave up just four hits and had seven strikeouts in the district showdown.
“When you hold a team like this to three runs it’s fantastic, they don’t usually score that few so I think that’s a positive thing,” Knox said. “(Bacon) threw some really great pitches, she kinda shut down some fantastic hitters. Obviously, she did a great job.”
Stephanie Wong scored the first run of the game on a failed squeeze attempt, when she was hung up between third and home but the Lady Cavs bobbled the play and the senior scored to make it 1-0.
In the third, Wong reached on an error and came in to score on a successful squeeze by first baseman Cedar Slovacek for a 2-0 lead.
Slovacek got things started in the sixth with a single, and McLeod helped herself with an RBI double into the left-center gap for an extra insurance run heading into the Lady Cavs’ final at-bat.
Lake Travis best chance to score came in a bizarre second inning. Bacon reached on walk, and Williamson followed with what looked to be a single to centerfield that Westlake’s Aaliyah Gibson appeared to trap on first glance, and the umpire ruled it that way. Then, after both umps consulted each other for several minutes, the hit was changed to an out with a ruling that Gibson caught the sinking fly ball before it hit the ground, yet the runner was allowed to stay at second with Williamson sent back to the dugout. Instead of two on with one out, there was one on with two outs and McLeod was able to notch another strikeout to escape the jam.
Sarah Pannkuk walked in the first inning and Allison Brascom scorched a line drive to follow, but McLeod snared the liner and tossed to first for a double play.
“It totally gave us confidence. We know we can hold them, we just need to hit the ball next time,” Bacon said. “(McLeod) has a good rise ball, (the approach) was mostly laying off with being choosy, but not too choosy.”
Lake Travis finished the first half of district play 4-2, with losses to Bowie and Westlake. The Lady Cavs pick up district play again against Austin High 7 p.m. March 28 at Guerrero Park.
“My girls train really hard,” Bacon said. “It’s not for a lack of work. Now, we’ve been through our first round we know what to expect, so maybe we can calm down a little bit.”
With the first round of district play wrapping up next week for the rest of 15-5A, both sides certainly have an eye on the next meeting, April 16 at Lake Travis.
“I think me and Makaela have that figured out now and i think we’ve totally got the hitting next game, too,” Bacon said. “We know where we need to go from here. (This game) totally gave us confidence. We know we can hold them, we just need to hit the ball next time.”
The two sophomore starting pitchers should have several more showdowns throughout the years.
“Going into next time we play them, if I get the chance to pitch I know what to do, where to throw now,” McLeod said.