Softball Insider: Another Trophy Club Nelson team headed to playoffs

Posted Monday, Apr. 14, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Trophy Club Nelson softball coach Kathy Schoettlebreathed a sigh of relief last week.

Her team sewed up at least the fourth-place playoff berth, the third straight season the Bobcats have made the postseason.

But more important to the school, it could be the second time in three seasons that all team sports have made the playoffs.

“You don’t want to be that coach whose team didn’t make the playoffs,” Schoettle said. “I think we’ve drawn energy from all of our school teams all year long, and we’ve been keeping up with the baseball team, too.

“The girls are excited about the soccer teams, but we know the work is ahead.”

It’s not by accident that Nelson has been strong in district play. The Bobcats have filtered through the District 5-4A schedule at 8-4, which helped claw their overall record to 13-12.

Nelson had big shoes to fill this season after the graduation of pitcher Ashley Dumoulin, a Star-Telegram Super Team pick in 2012 and 2013.

This season, underclassmen Edie Fairchild and Izzy Milligan have towed the load in the circle. Fairchild is 10-5 with a 3.60 ERA in 95 1/3 innings. Milligan has managed a 4.96 ERA in 11 appearances.

“The thing about both of them is that they struggled early on like most underclassmen do,” Schoettle said. “But they’ve settled into the role and they are giving us the kind of pitching, varsity pitching that we need to win.”

Schoettle said Fairchild and Milligan have improved their location and have been putting pitches in areas where Nelson’s defense can get outs.

“They’ve learned that it’s not like they have to overpower a hitter,” Schoettle said. “Simply getting ground balls is what helps us win games.”

Offensively, sophomore Angel Szymanski has worked herself into the two-hole of the lineup after initially making varsity as a utility player.

She got an opportunity to play right field and worked herself into a regular role.

Szymanski is hitting .343 with a .492 slugging percentage, nine extra-base hits and 10 RBIs.

Seniors Haley Gray and Ashley Silva are not far behind. Gray is hitting .341 with a .411 on-base percentage and 19 stolen bases as the leadoff hitter. Silva has 18 RBIs and .471 slugging percentage.

Trying for perfection

Burleson Centennial (21-3) wraps the District 8-4A slate Tuesday against Everman and with a win, will complete another unbeaten run.

It would be the second time in three varsity seasons the Spartans have run the table in district play.

Last season, Centennial split the district title after splitting games with rival Burleson.

With only one loss in three seasons, the idea that Centennial is the real deal in softball isn’t foreign to coach Shannon Sullivan.

“The whole town is full of great softball players,” she said. “It’s really nice to have so many girls in our program and so many that when they get here already know the fundamentals.

“For our coaching staff, it’s more about managing and game strategy and teaching some deeper things about the game.”

This season, it’s been more of the same on offense for Centennial.

Madison Montgomery, a Star-Telegram Super Team selection last season, is hitting .575 with 24 RBIs and 21 extra-base hits.

Three other players hit above .400 for Centennial including Eva Scott, who’s hitting .507 with 21 RBIs.

Centennial’s pitching staff has been a stalwart considering senior Sydney Cox has been sidelined with injury.

Senior Ashlee Gibson is 12-2 with a 1.68 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 95 2/3 innings.

Freshman Haley Kimberling is 6-1 with a 1.07 ERA, and Cox has won both her starts late this season with a 0.55 ERA.

“We knew we needed some help with Sydney out,” Sullivan said. “Both of them made a huge difference for us in district play.”

Title secure

Arlington Martin (23-3) wrapped up the District 3-5A title with a win over rival Arlington Lamar last week.

It’s the Warriors’ first district title in Cathy Rudy’s time as head coach. It’s also the fourth time in the last five seasons that Martin has made the playoffs.

Last season, Martin shared the title with Weatherford.

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