Aledo softball coach Jeff Lemons said he was hoping his team would fly under the radar this season.
At 25-3 overall and 9-0 in District 7-4A, there’s not much of a chance for that.
The Bearcats are putting together a season directly opposite of last year, but with virtually the same personnel.
“We’re very young age-wise, but not really as far as experience goes,” Lemons said. “These girls have played a lot of softball together dating to last year and they get better every game.”
It was never more evident Saturday when first baseman Chickie Cook delivered the game-winning RBI in a 4-3 non-district win over Birdville.
It was, and has become this season, vintage Cook. She’s batting .535 with 35 RBIs and hits third in a stacked lineup.
Leadoff hitter Haylee Bowden is batting .545 with 36 runs scored and cleanup hitter Rhylie Makawe has a .493 average with 46 RBIs.
Makawe’s has 36 hits, including 11 doubles, five triples and two home runs.
Still, Lemons said the biggest improvement for his squad has been the pitchers holding down a 1.75 combined ERA.
Lauren Craine, who was limited due to injury last season, has turned in an 18-2 record as a sophomore, striking out 113 batters.
Tori Gore is Aledo’s other option and is 7-1 with a 2.98 ERA.
“To watch them work this season, you can just see the confidence building,” Lemons said. “And for Lauren to do what she’s done, while getting to pitch just a few games last year, has been outstanding.”
Aledo has overcome some injuries as well. Starting catcher Megan Mason was lost for the season with a knee injury, thrusting Alli Ramsey into the role.
“Her maturity in handling things has been tremendous and is no doubt part of the reason our staff has been successful,” Lemons said. “It didn’t take long to turn the pitch calling over to her.”
Grapevine Faith won a TAPPS state title last May.
But after graduating six seniors, the Faith softball program finds itself on hiatus this season.
“We tried to give it a go and would have been competitive, but we just had too many things working against us,” coach Mark Jameson said. “To really get the kind of team you need, you’ve got to have 12 players and we were going to be closer to eight or nine.”
Jameson said his biggest concern was putting in the work and having to worry if one or two players would get hurt or sick and end the season at any point.
Jameson said a couple of players from last season’s team transferred, including standout Kaitlyn Alderink who’s in the lineup for Keller.
Additionally, the program faced a couple of significant preseason injuries and some grade issues that could have been costly as well.
“We also have a rule that even if you play just softball, you have to take athletics as a class throughout the entire year and that’s a big commitment,” Jameson said.
Joshua hangs tough
The Owls are 24-5 and 7-3 in district 8-4A play while holding down third place.
Sophomore Bailey Kennedy leads the team at the plate, hitting .547 with 38 RBI. She’s had 20 extra base hits this season.
Two freshmen, Cayleigh Guthrie and Ashlea McLaughlin, hold down the circle with a team 2.78 ERA. Guthrie has 59 strikeouts, and a 13-3 record.
McLaughlin is 10-2 and struck out 54 on the season.
Top games this week
• Denton at White Settlement Brewer, 6:30 p.m.
• Birdville at Saginaw, 7:30 p.m.
• Waco at Burleson, 7:30 p.m.
• Keller at Southlake Carroll, 5:30 p.m.
• White Settlement Brewer at Trophy Club Nelson, 6:30 p.m.
• Mansfield Legacy at Ennis, 7:00 p.m.
• Irving Nimitz at Colleyville Heritage, 7:15 p.m.
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