By Steve Habel
Lake Travis View Contributing Writer
Getting the 21 outs to win a normal, seven-inning game in softball is hard enough, so when Lake Travis committed seven errors in a 9-8 loss to Austin High at Dolores Field at Guerrero Park Thursday, the Lady Cavaliers knew exactly where to point their collective finger and what has to improve.
Not even a clutch, sixth-inning grand slam by third baseman Hanna Contreras could help Lake Travis overcome its lack of fundamental play in the field or save the Lady Cavaliers from dropping into a tie with Austin High for third place in the District 15-5A standings.
“We are not a team that makes errors like we did tonight, and it shows that we were not mentally prepared to play the way we need to to win,” Lake Travis coach Christie Knox said. “No team can afford to give the opposition so many extra outs. We will have to find a way to regroup, and we need to do so quickly.”
Lake Travis beat Austin High 12-0 in the first round of district play, a fact that makes its loss Thursday even harder to swallow.
The Lady Cavaliers (13-8 overall and 4-3 in 15-5A play) managed just seven hits off Austin High pitcher Vannessa Castro, but four of those came in the final two innings with Lake Travis already trailing 9-4. Contreras cut the Maroons’ advantage to one run with a single huge swing – the ball she hit for a grand slam was still rising as it went over the centerfield fence – when she plated Baylee Kuss, Riley Cunningham and Allison Brascom in front of her.
“I was thinking about being calm and just hitting the ball hard to help us cut into their lead,” Contreras said. “Then I got the pitch I was looking for and threw my hands – it’s the most excited I have been running bases in a long time.”
Contreras, who had two hits and scored twice to go along with her five RBIs, would have been even more charged up if the Lady Cavaliers could have found a way to win a game they all but handed to Austin High (12-9, 4-3 in 15-5A). Lake Travis put two runners on with two out in the seventh but Castro (12-9 on the season for the Maroons) struck out Cunningham to end the threat.
Brascom also scored twice for the Lady Cavaliers, while Kuss and Sarah Pannkuk had Lake Travis’s other two hits.
Zoe Bacon, who has pitched every game for the Cavs this season, took the loss after surrendering eight hits and nine runs, seven of which were earned.
Mariah Garcia had three hits, scored three times and drove home two to lead the Maroons. Darlynn Resendez added two hits, two runs and three RBIs for Austin High.
Errors made a difference in every inning in which Austin High scored. Two of Lake Travis’s errors came on dropped fly balls in the fourth inning when catches on either could have allowed Bacon to get out of the inning with minimal damage.
“I was actually taken aback when we made so many errors because we work so hard at the fundamentals of catching and throwing the ball,” Contreras said. “We will rededicate ourselves to the basics in practice – we will not let a game like this define us.”
The Lady Cavaliers return to action April 4 against Bowie, which beat Westlake 3-2 on Thursday to forge a tie at the top in the 15-5A standings.
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