Lady Dawgs softball ends season in bi-district round of playoffs
By Clay Whittington
WEST – The Lady Bulldawgs’ season is over after Saturday’s Class 6A bi-district playoff loss to Waxahachie, and the outcome concludes multiple players’ high school careers.
While the defeat was disappointing, Copperas Cove head coach Bryan Waller believes the true loss occurs in the locker room.
“(These seniors) have been the personality of this team for four years,” he said. “They’ve all been there every day, pushed each other, set examples and set the tone. They put their marks on this team for the others that follow after.
“Their personalities are what made this team fun.”
Lynsey Robison, Anissa Amaro, Trinity Zavala, Alejandra Espinoza, Carol Letterman and Hannah Catchings must each say goodbye to the program after the loss, and one offensive outburst from the Lady Indians was the catalyst for their 7-1 win.
For four and a half innings, Copperas Cove was poised to extend its campaign.
The Lady Bulldawgs opened the game with a leadoff single from centerfielder Joleeanna Hair, who advanced to third base on designated hitter Gabby Emeana’s infield single, but the pair was left stranded moments later.
Waxahachie could not generate any immediate offense as Robison struck out four of the first six batters she faced, but Waxahachie recorded the game’s first run in the third inning, when Bryten Burns’ RBI shot sent teammate Nalee Nichols, who reached base on a single, across home plate.
Copperas Cove (18-14-1) responded in the top of fourth inning as Larisa Perez scored on Robison’s single to centerfield.
The Lady Bulldawgs left the bases loaded, though, and would not send a runner past second base for the duration of the contest, while Waxahachie batted around the order in the bottom of the inning to take complete control.
“We matched up like I thought we’d match up,” Waller said. “We just didn’t get the hits we needed to get, and they got the ones they needed to get.”
The first three batters of the fifth inning got on base for the Lady Indians, including Nichols, who hit an RBI triple. Then, after a pitching change, Waxahachie (20-7) continued to score, sending six consecutive batters around the bases.
Emeana started the sixth inning with a single but did not advance beyond second base after Robison was walked.
Robison, who was replaced by Perez, returned to the mound in the sixth inning before finishing with seven strikeouts and allowing a pair of hits.
Despite the loss, Copperas Cove delivered a bounce-back season after missing the playoffs last year, but the program’s mission is not complete, according to Waller.
“It always feels good to be in the playoffs,” he said. “That is one of our goals, but our ultimate goal is to go as far as we can, and to do so, we need to get past the first round. We’ve got to find a way around those things and make improvements in those different areas.
“That includes me as the coach and everyone else.”