Aledo High School recognized its senior baseball players Friday, after the final regular season game.
"Senior night is always special," Coach Chad Barry said. "It’s a great group of seniors."
The seniors represented the largest graduating class with 16 players, who each took a pitch from their fathers before rounding the bases and greeting the underclassmen and teammates lining the base paths. The announcer declared the seniors would "be forever known as Aledo Bearcats."
"We’ve definitely got a lot of holes to fill," Barry said, as after this season they will lose much of their lineup. "But we’ve got some underclassmen that I think will be up to the task."
Unfortunately, the Bearcats finished their regular season on a sour note, falling to the Trimble Tech Bulldogs, 2-0.
"I was disappointed in the way we hit the ball tonight," Barry admitted, saying they had more hits than the game they played earlier that week but had a poorer approach at the plate.
The Bearcats had several opportunities to score – leaving several players in scoring position throughout the game, including the bases loaded – but were unable to give starter Carter Cammack run support.
"The pitching was good tonight," Barry said. "The pitching gave us a chance to win, we didn’t get it done offensively."
Despite the setback, the Bearcats still finished the season with a 22-5 record and look forward to the playoffs which begin Thursday. Between now and then, Barry said the team will look to improve their game.
"We’ve definitely got to go back to work offensively – get better at the plate, shore up the defense a little bit – and I think we’ll be all right," Barry said.
The same night, the Aledo Lady Bearcats softball team passed the first test of their playoffs run by overpowering the Crowley Lady Eagles, 16-1.
"It’s a good way to start the playoffs," Coach Jeff Lemons said. "It’s what we needed to do first round out of the box: win convincingly and look good doing it."
The Lady ‘Cats’ win did look good as their strong offense, which has scored double digits against their opponents each game since early March, continued that streak with 16 runs in four innings while their strong pitching and defense allowed just one, which crossed the plate in the third inning after the team committed an error.
"We had the one little glitch," Lemons said of that inning. "But offensively we looked really good."
Starter Lauren Craine and reliever Alli Ramsey’s strong appearances shut down the Eagles from then on while the Bearcats’ offense again exploded for nine more runs in the final two innings.
Despite the solid win, Lemons said they will still look for ways to improve before the next playoff game.
"I don’t want to be satisfied," Lemons said. "We’re getting better every week, so if I’m satisfied with this, then that leaves no room for improvement next week."
Many of the teams’ runs came with smart base running and taking advantage of errors instead of big hits, since the team finished the game with just three extra base hits, and seven hits total.
Lemons said this was the first time Aledo faced Crowley in his five years as coach, but will be the first of many as the Lady Eagles join their district in the fall.