Softball team goes 5-1 in LH Tournament
By KEITH SPARKS
The Panther softball team hosted their own tournament in Liberty Hill over the weekend, going 4-1 with wins over Marble Falls, Wimberley, Abilene, West, and a loss to Georgetown.
On Feb. 14 before they began tournament play, the Panthers handed Rockdale a loss, as well. Head Coach Kristen Brewer couldn’t have been happier with their performance, considering how early in the season it is.
“Overall, I think we did well,” Brewer said. “I know it’s still early, but in pressure situations, we are showing some maturity, which is good to see. Our hitting is starting to come along, and pretty much everything is kind of starting to fall into place. Obviously, there’s still going to be things that we have to work on, especially early.”
The Panthers lost last year’s ace pitcher over the summer, forcing varsity returner Abby Covington to step into that role this season. According to Brewer, she’s done it flawlessly. Cheyenne Floyd, who has limited experience at the varsity level, has started to come into her own, as well.
“With Abby Covington taking charge on the mound, she did fantastic this weekend and helped carry us quite a bit,” Brewer said. “We had who we call Red, which is Cheyenne Floyd, this weekend, which was a little bit new to her, as far as stepping up at the varsity level, but she had no problem stepping right in after a little bit of nerves.”
The Panthers also lost a valuable piece in Kinsey Kuhlmann to injury, forcing Brewer and her coaching staff to make some adjustments in the infield. It forced them to call up freshman Tannis Brewer to the varsity level, who has shared time with returner Ashton Dirner. During the tournament, Dirner saw the vast majority of the action.
“We’ve kind of been switching a little bit back and forth between Ashton Dirner, and we also moved a freshman up to varsity, Tannis Brewer,” Brewer said. “We’re kind of playing them both middle infield, and at the very beginning with our scrimmages and stuff, we’ve kind of switched back and forth. This tournament, we pretty much stuck with Dirner, but I don’t want to commit to saying we’ve made a final decision. That’s kind of what we’re going with at the moment, because Dirner’s played there before. They’ve both played both positions, but Dirner plays there for her select team, and it’s just getting her to have a little bit quicker movements, as far as getting those very fast runners we come across.”
The Panthers opened their regular season against Rockdale on Feb. 14, winning by a final score of 11-1. Mia Hernandez went two for three at the plate, finishing with two singles and two RBIs. Kaylyn Revere went one for three at the plate with a double and three RBIs. Covington and Ashley Gatlin each brought in an RBI, as well. Covington finished with seven strikeouts on the mound in three innings, and Floyd added three in two innings.
On Feb. 15, Liberty Hill opened tournament play against Marble Falls, winning by a final score of 10-0. Jessika Truax went two for three at the plate, hitting two singles and brining in two RBIs. Hernandez and Gatlin each went two for three, as well, each with a single and a double and two RBIs. Dirner, Covington, and Revere each brought in an RBI, as well. Covington pitched all five innings, finishing with six strikeouts.
The Panthers also played Wimberley last week, winning by a final score of 4-2, scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to win the game. Logan Oehler and Dirner each went two for three at the plate. Dirner hit a single and a triple to bring in one RBI, and Oehler hit two doubles to bring in two RBIs. Covington went one for two at the plate, hitting the Panthers’ only home run of the game. Floyd pitched all seven innings, finishing with five strikeouts.
On Feb. 16, the Panthers opened up with a game against Abilene, which they won in a 5-0 shutout. Dirner went two for three at the plate with a double, a triple, and three RBIs. Floyd went two for two at the plate with two singles, and Covington went one for three with a double and an RBI. Covington finished with seven strikeouts in four innings, and Floyd finished with two strikeouts in two innings.
Their second game on Feb. 16 was against West, which they won by a final score of 11-2. The Panthers were down 2-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, but they caught fire and scored 10 of their 11 runs in the inning. Covington hit her second home run of the tournament, going two for three with two RBIs. Brewer also went two for three at the plate with two singles and two RBIs. Floyd pitched all five innings, finishing with five strikeouts.
The Panthers’ final game of the tournament was against Georgetown, which they lost by a final score of 2-0. Liberty Hill won the hit battle 5-3, but wasn’t able to turn those hits into runs. Dirner, Truax, Floyd, Oehler, and Revere each got a hit in the game. Covington pitched all seven innings, finishing with four strikeouts.
Next, the Panthers will participate in the Round Rock ISD Invitational at Cedar Ridge High School from Thursday through Saturday.