Chris Sommerfeld understands the significance of tonight’s game.
With the season dwindling, Gatesville’s first-year head coach knows the winner gets the upper hand on the final playoff berth. He realizes a loss means his team is on the wrong end of a season sweep, compounding the single defeat into a larger deficit in the district standings.
Sommerfeld recognizes his players need to win against Burnet, but he also refuses to lose sight of the bigger picture.
“Anytime you are in district play, every game is pretty urgent,” he said. “You can’t take any game lightly, and you can’t assume any victories. But while this game is important and it is hard to lie to ourselves about that, we also have to have the same kind of urgency for every district game we play, because when you are only playing 10 district games, losses have a big effect.”
Following the Lady Hornets’ upset of state-ranked Lampasas on Friday, Sommerfeld hopes his players received the message.
After losing the first encounter with the Lady Badgers 7-4, Gatesville rallied from a 9-5 hole, scoring five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, including a game-winning, two-RBI double from Ashlee Green, to beat then-No. 21 Lampasas 10-5.
The victory improves Gatesville’s District 8-3A record to 2-4 (12-12 overall), tying it with the Lady Bulldogs, who were shut out 7-0 by Brownwood on Friday.
With only four games remaining in the regular season, including two against district leading No. 4 Liberty Hill (20-5, 6-0) and second-place Brownwood, which is ranked 22nd in the state with a 16-6, 4-2 record, Gatesville cannot afford to lose its intensity.
Lampasas (18-5, 3-3) dropped to 28th in the state rankings following the loss to the Lady Hornets, but still remains in sole possession of third place heading into its game against last-place Llano (1-5).
Although the record does not indicate it, Sommerfeld believes his team is just a couple plays away from being in a much better position in the standings as two of Gatesville’s four losses came by three runs or less.
“With a lot of the teams in our district being so even, it comes down to things being fortunate to go your way,” he said. “The other night, Lampasas hit two home runs and both were two-run shots. Then, we hit two home runs and nobody is on base.
“It is just that when you are playing tough games, it can be a variety of variables that changes the team fortune. We finally had it go our way, and I’m definitely not going to complain about that.”
Now, Sommerfeld hopes his team can keep the momentum going down the homestretch of the schedule, beginning tonight as the Lady Hornets host Burnet at 7 p.m.
In the first confrontation, the Lady Bulldogs limited Gatesville to only four hits en route to an 11-1 victory. Since then, however, the Lady Hornets have gone 2-2 and, outside of a 13-5 loss to Liberty Hill, have outscored their opponents 30-20.
Perhaps no single contest is more meaningful to Gatesville’s development than knocking off the Lady Badgers, though.
“There is a lot of growth, but there are a lot of growing pains that come along with it,” Sommerfeld said. “Hopefully, Friday’s game against Lampasas will help us speed up that growing process.”
DISTRICT 8-3A STANDINGS
Liberty Hill 6-0