The Mansfield softball team has what it takes to make a long run in the playoffs.
The Lady Tigers still had a game remaining heading into this week, and that game would go a long way in determining the final seedings, but not the fact that Mansfield would play in the postseason.
The Lady Tigers entered this week at 9-2 with just their early-week game at South Grand Prairie remaining, which was to be an opportunity to revenge one of those losses.
The Lady Warriors had beaten Mansfield 3-2 earlier in the season. The game was to help determine the District 8-6A champion.
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Their other loss was a nightmarish 9-5 loss to Cedar Hill after having previously beaten them earlier in the district schedule, 14-1.
With a win, Mansfield would become co-champs of the district with South Grand Prairie, and the top seed would be decided by either a seeding game or coin flip.
But going forward, Mansfield has been on a good roll, both offensively and defensively.
Mansfield is averaging 10.5 runs in its district games and giving up just 1.5 runs on average in those games.
The Lady Tigers’ pitching is setting up their offense and the offense is giving confidence to the pitchers.
Senior pitcher Casey Waterman has an ERA of 1.44. Waterman actually registered 75 strikeouts and walked just eight batters.
“She threw so great for us last year, it’s almost not fair to say she’d do it again this year,” said Mansfield head coach Jennifer Haltom. “She puts in work away from practices, too, and you see it in the game. She’s a good leader for us.”
Haltom said they’re lucky to have a great defense behind Waterman, including Natalie Jackson at second base.
Paxton Scheurer at shortstop has made “ESPN-style plays,” Haltom said. “She’s got a great arm.”
And, should a ball get past the infield, Bailey Baldwin in center field has great range and an arm that can often times cut down runners.
When the playoffs roll around, you can’t catch Mansfield on a rest night from the circle.
Scheurer, just a freshman, has an ERA of just .226. She has 63 strikeouts and just one walk in six games.
On offense, Haltom said there are plenty of girls who come in focused to play each game offensively and put pressure on their opponents.
Three Lady Tigers players are hitting over .450.
Baldwin is hitting .486, while Scheurer is just behind at .475. Lexus Gonzales is hitting .458.
The season has been no surprise to Haltom, who said she’s been looking for this senior class to excel since she came in with them when they were freshmen.
“They’ve been bringing it,” Haltom said of the group. “They’re a lot of fun to be a part of.”
Mansfield will be looking soon toward its first-round playoff opponent, either L.D. Bell or Coppell of District 7-6A.
Timberview is solidly entrenched in second place following a 9-6 loss to Ennis last week.
This week, Timberview was to finish with Summit on Tuesday and has a bye on Friday. Then the Lady Wolves will wait for their bi-district round game with the third place team of District 13-5A, which will likely be Dallas Adamson. The first round of the playoffs will be May 1.
“We didn’t play as well as we could,” said Timberview head coach Donya Mooney. “We made some errors we haven’t made since I’ve been at Timberview. But, I’d rather have them now than later.”
Until then, the Lady Wolves will work on erasing the errors and getting healthy.
Should Timberview get past their bi-district game, they’ll likely face Hallsville in the second round, one of the region’s top-ranked teams.
A big showdown week
Monday, a continuation of the Lake Ridge and Waxahachie game was to conclude from postponement in the fifth inning. Lake Ridge was down in the contest, 10-6 with two on and one out.
The outcome will help shape the dog-fight conclusion for the remaining playoff spots in the district.
Lake Ridge, Waxahachie and Legacy are all fighting for the two remaining spots.
Legacy and Waxahachie were to play on Tuesday and then another showdown will be set.
When Lake Ridge travels to Legacy on Friday, the teams will square off to help determine the final spots and seedings.
Legacy already owns a 14-6 win over Lake Ridge from earlier in the season. The Lady Broncos have also registered a convincing 11-1 win over Waxahachie in earlier district play.
Waxahachie still has Ennis to play on Friday.
Legacy head coach Amie Prater said either the third or fourth is a good way to go.
“It’s pick your poison,” Prater said. “The biggest competition is from our own district, with either Ennis or Timberview.”
Legacy players know their fate is within their own control.
“We’re not depending on anyone else,” Prater said. “It’s about what we do.”
The only downside for Legacy isn’t a downside at all, Prater said.
“Being young isn’t a problem,” she explained. “It means we recover quickly and move forward quickly. The future is very, very bright for us.”