Softball: Bacon fries Westlake with walkoff win
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 | | 1
By Kyle Gregory
Lake Travis View Contributing Writer
Lake Travis softball ended their regular season in emphatic fashion Tuesday night.
The Lady Cavaliers closed out on a high note, beating rivals and District 15-5A leader Westlake 2-1 with a rally in the seventh inning.
“It was fun,” Lake Travis coach Christie Knox said. “It was a really good softball game. It’s always great to play a game like that where both teams are solid, and it’s just a battle. It was a real team effort. We scored our runs as a team – just base hits. It wasn’t like there were home runs flying everywhere. It’s a lot of fun when you can win a game like that.”
While both teams played seven innings, only two ended up mattering.
Westlake took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Stephanie Wong singled and was bunted over to second by Lauren McLeod. Liz Carter then knocked her home with a base hit of her own.
From that point on, it was a battle between Lake Travis pitcher Zoe Bacon and the Westlake righty Carter, as the Chaps clung to their one-run lead.
Bacon was nearly unstoppable for most of the game, allowing only three baserunners after the first inning.
“Zoe threw a phenomenal game, and we played great defense behind her,” Knox said.
Carter was similarly dominant, not allowing a hit until the sixth inning.
It was in the sixth that Lake Travis started to build some momentum. Allison Brascom singled and reached second on an error. Hanna Contreras was then hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Bacon reached on ball to shortstop, but Brascom was called out for interference. Makaela Williamson then walked to load the bases. Westlake’s Carter was able to escape the jam, but Lake Travis’ offense was coming alive just in time.
Westlake brought in Lauren McLeod in the top of the seventh to try to close out the game.
Trailing by one in the bottom of the seventh with one out, Baylee Kuss reached safely on ground ball to third base when the throw from third bounced off her helmet. She made it to second on a wild pitch and then to third off of a groundout by Riley Cunningham.
“I was like, ‘Ow, I got hit in the head,’” Kuss said, “but then I was like, ‘OK! We’ve got one out, I’m in a good position.’ Then the ball went past, and I got into scoring position, and Riley did a good job of hitting the ball the right side of the field so I could get to third.”
With two outs and the game-tying runner on third, Sarah Pannkuk stepped to the plate. Pannkuk worked the count to full – setting up a do-or-die situation. On McLeod’s next pitch, Pannkuk sent a single past the second baseman, scoring Kuss.
“Whenever it got down to the last two outs, and I was up, I just had the fire in me because the last couple of times I’d struck out,” Pannkuk said.
With the game tied, Brascom stepped in and knocked another single, putting runners on first and second.
Westlake then decided to go back to what was working earlier, and Carter reentered the game at pitcher.
The next batter, Contreras, was patient at the plate and drew a full-count walk to load the bases.
Then, it was Bacon’s turn. In another example of plate discipline, Bacon worked a full count before checking her swing on an outside pitch to walk and send home the winning run.
“This game was different,” Knox said. “Because both teams had already clinched the playoffs, I think in that sense it takes the pressure off, and it was more about us wanting to upset them and mix things up a bit. I think there was more excitement on our part. We’d worked hard and given ourselves an opportunity to win the ballgame. Our hitters looked much more relaxed that last inning than they did early in the game.”
Bacon pitched a complete game, allowing one run on three hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
Brascom led the team offensively, going 2-for-4. Pannkuk had the Cavs only other hit. Pannkuk’s single and Bacon’s walk accounted for Lake Travis’ RBIs.
Tuesday’s victory brings the Cavs to 8-4 in district play and assures them of a spot in the playoffs. The remaining top four teams – Westlake, Bowie and Austin High all play Friday to determine final seeding.
“I know we all wanted to beat [Westlake] because they said they were going to run rule us,” Pannkuk said, “so we had that drive.”
Kuss added, “It was a good finish. I’m not going to be playing softball next year, so as the last home game of my senior year it feels great. Westlake is the team to beat, and it feels great to be a Lake Travis Cavalier right now.”
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