Softball experiences ups and downs, goes 2-2 in tournament


By Keith Sparks

The Panther softball team has only played one tournament so far, but they’ve already seen their fair share of ups and downs.

They experience blowouts on both ends of the spectrum, losing to Abilene 9-1 before beating West 10-1.

The Panthers won their first game against Marble Falls by a final score of 3-0. Cheyenne Floyd pitched all six innings, striking out five batters, walking one, and allowing three hits.

Leanna Limon went 2-3 at the plate with a single and a double, Abby Covington went 1-3 with a double and two RBIs, and Lauren Macias went 1-2 with a single and one RBI.

The Panthers lost their second game of the tournament against Georgetown by a final score of 11-8. In a valiant effort to climb back from a huge deficit, the Panthers scored six runs in the final inning, but were unable to complete the comeback.

Floyd pitched four innings, striking out five batters, walking four, and giving up seven hits and five earned runs. Covington pitched one inning, giving up four hits, walking three batters, and allowing four earned runs.

Kinsey Kuhlmann led the way offensively with a 2-2 performance at the plate, including a double, a home run, and four RBIs. Ashton Dirner went 2-4 with a single and a triple, and Kaylyn Revere went 1-3 with a double and two RBIs. Liberty Hill had 10 hits as a team to Georgetown’s 11.

After a 1-1 start on Thursday, Head Coach Kristen Brewer said her team’s lack of adjustments hurt them early on.

“In my opinion, we got off to a little bit of a slow start, slower than I would like,” Brewer said. “We had some inconsistencies at the plate, and throughout the tournament, we were slow to make adjustments. About halfway through, I really talked about the buy-in of really fighting hard to win each inning and make those adjustments a little quicker at the plate.”

In their third game of the tournament, Liberty Hill lost to 6A Abilene by a final score of 9-1, giving up eight runs during the fourth and fifth innings, combined.

Floyd pitched 2 and a third innings, striking out two batters, walking two, and allowing four hits and two earned runs. Covington pitched 3 and a third innings, striking out three batters, walking three, and giving up four hits and two earned runs.

Dirner went 2-2 at the plate with a single, a home run, and an RBI. Limon, Covington, and Macias all had one hit, as well.

Brewer said Covington’s typically tough-to-hit screwball didn’t have its mojo against Abilene, giving their opponents too many opportunities over the plate.

“They’re a really good 6A team,” Brewer said. “We ended up starting Abby that game, and her screwball was not working. That’s something that, moving on throughout the season, we’re going to have to get tougher with. Not everything’s going to work every game. We’ve got to be able to move past it and still make sure we’re hitting spots. If a single pitch isn’t working, be able to work around that. We left it hanging over the plate a little bit, and they were able to take advantage of that.”

The Panthers ended the tournament on a high note with a 10-1 win over West on Friday. Floyd pitched all seven innings, striking out one batter, walking one, and giving up six hits and one earned run.

Kuhlmann led the way offensively, going 4-4 at the plate with a single, two doubles, a home run, and three RBIs. Dirner went 2-2 with two singles and two RBIs, and Limon went 2-2 with two singles and an RBI.

“We finished the tournament off pretty strong, so we’re hoping to carry that over into our next tournament, not making that just a one-time thing,” Brewer said. “We did have some really good hits. We have five home runs in five games. I’m really proud that some of those are opposite field home runs, which is something we’ve been working on, being able to reach both sides of the plate. Now, we just need to get it consistent throughout our entire lineup.”

Before the season started, Brewer said she was excited to see what strides Floyd, aka Red, would make as the Panthers’ second option on the mound. After one tournament, she can already see a difference in her maturity.

“All of our pitchers, it’s still early in the season and we have a long ways to go, but seeing where Red was last year versus how she responded in this tournament, coming into a situation where we’ve been behind or maybe there’s runners on, you can tell a difference,” Brewer said. “You can see more maturity within her, and she’s started this season off responding well. It’s just fine tuning some of those things.”

Brewer was also able to fill out the varsity roster this weekend, pulling up freshman catcher Dylan Lewis to fill the final spot, though she’s still waiting on two major contributors to finish basketball season.

“We’ve completed our roster, and our last person to pull up was a freshman catcher, Dylan Lewis,” Brewer said. “We’ve still got Carissa Garza and Ireland Sargent that are playing basketball right now that we don’t have, so hopefully when they come back, they’ll be just as strong for us in the lineup. Of course, I’ll have to work with them and get them their opportunities, but as far as everything else goes, we’re getting more solid in our positions and where we’re looking at people.”

This weekend, the 3-2 Panthers will look to hold on to a winning record during the Round Rock ISD Tournament.