Panthers enter District 25-4A as favorites
By TAYLOR GRAFT
Fun in the sun is over for the Lady Panthers who are cutting their spring break a few days short this week to play softball.
Liberty Hill will be back in action on Friday at home against the Llano Yellowjackets to open district play at 6:30 p.m.
The matchup should be pretty routine for the Lady Panthers, who defeated the Lady Yellowjackets 8-0 last year when the two teams met in Liberty Hill.
This season Llano is expected to finish towards the bottom of the district standings, with their highest expectations set at just making the playoffs.
Liberty Hill, Burnet, Lampasas, and Llano are welcoming two new district opponents this season—Taylor and Salado—after losing Brownwood and Gatesville to other districts during UIL realignment.
Taylor is projected to finish towards the bottom of the district standings after a losing record last season.
Salado and Lampasas will most likely be battling for third place in district, while Burnet and Liberty Hill are projected to finish as one and two in district.
The Lady Panthers are certainly everyone’s favorite to not only win the District 25-4A title, but also favored for a run at the state tournament in the post season.
Liberty Hill (12-1) is currently ranked as the sixth-best team in Class 4A according to the latest TGCA Softball Poll. Burnet has added some more pitching and firepower in their lineup this season and gotten off to a surprising 11-2 start.
Entering into district Liberty Hill senior Lysney Mitchell is leading the Lady Panthers in several hitting categories. She holds the team’s highest batting average at .500. She also leads the team in runs (22) and RBIs (15).
Sophomore Joely Williamson holds the team’s second highest batting average at .439 and also is tied for first in RBIs with 15.
Five different Lady Panthers have hit two home runs so far this season: Mitchell, Williamson, senior Sam Junkin, senior Kallen Floyd, and Jenna Kieschnick.
Senior Junkin has a 7-2 record entering district play and holds a 1.30 ERA. She has struck out 62 batters.
Junior Nicole Thiem is 6-0 with a 1.46 ERA and has 69 strikeouts this season.