Jenica Kevil and her six fellow Arlington Martin softball seniors went out in style.
The Lady Warriors took care of Arlington Lamar 15-0 on April 18 in the regular season finale with every player getting at least one hit in the process. The strong outing clinched an outright 4-6A title — the third Martin district championship in four seasons and the first for second-year coach Rachel Riley. Although there was plenty to celebrate, Kevil found herself confronting a mix of emotions.
“Definitely bittersweet,” said the third baseman, who will play college softball next season at Otero Junior College in Colorado. “I’m looking forward to going off to college and playing college ball. But I’ll miss all my friends here.”
It’s exciting. It’s time to move onto the playoffs. But at the same time, this it. This is our last run, and then we move on to college.
- Martin senior catcher Olivia Reames
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The friends still have some postseason business to take care of before their high school careers become a memory. “We came out strong tonight,” said catcher Olivia Reames, who, along with pitcher Lacy Mann, will play at Arkansas Tech next season. “It’s exciting. It’s time to move onto the playoffs. But at the same time, this it. This is our last run, and then we move on to college.”
Martin made it look easy at times while going 13-1 in district play. But don’t let some of the lopsided scores fool you. “It was definitely hard work, especially with Mansfield coming into our district,” Kevil said.
The Lady Warriors won 12 of their district games by 10 or more runs and scored at least nine runs in each of their 13 district wins. “There were some good games,” Reames said. “Not every game was 15-0. There were games that were closer and we started off behind and had to come back. We definitely had to work.”
But Martin didn’t stack up district wins just by piling on the runs. The Lady Warriors also played stellar defense. “All of our players this year came out strong and practiced hard from the beginning,” middle infielder Kayla Hitt said.
Added left fielder Jenna Rhoades: “We played solid defense and had a solid lineup.”
The Lady Warriors also received stellar play from pitcher Lacy Mann, who led Martin to district titles as a freshman and sophomore before missing her junior year with a knee injury. Mann’s fully recovered but concedes she didn’t feel like her old self right away.
“It took me a second to get into a groove,” Mann said. “It’s pretty normal now.”
About the only abnormal moment for Martin was that lone district loss to Mansfield. “We kind of went into the game thinking, ‘Oh, we can hit [standout pitcher Paxton Scheurer]. We’re strong hitters,’” Hitt said. “We kind of let it get to our heads. We didn’t execute the way we planned.”
But the seniors said they took some positives from the lone setback. “It did make us stronger players,” Hitt said.
Arlington ISD’s Class 6A schools will send two teams to the playoffs in district winner Martin and fourth-place Arlington (8-6 in 4-6A). The Lady Colts are likely to face a daunting bi-district foe in Keller, which entered its Friday finale against Haltom boasting a 10-1 record in District 3-6A.
As district champs, the Lady Warriors will match up against the fourth-place team from 3-6A, which is likely to be Keller Fossil Ridge, a team with a losing record in district (5-6).
For up-to-date playoff brackets after the end of the season, visit www.dfwvarsity.com.
The Arlington ISD baseball teams are also set to send two teams to the postseason in first-place Martin and fourth-place Lamar, but the boys have a few more games yet to play.
The Warriors visit Arlington at 7 p.m. Friday, then conclude their season next week with a series against Lamar. Martin plays host on April 25, Lamar on April 28, with both games beginning at 7 p.m. Lamar hosts another tough district foe, Fort Worth Paschal, at 7 p.m. Friday.
Stephen English: firstname.lastname@example.org, @sbenglish74