BURNET — Kloe Corbin picked apart her swing. Then, she did the same to Burnet.
After admittedly struggling at the plate of late, Lampasas’ freshman catcher broke free of her hitting slump Friday evening, going 3 for 5 with two home runs, including a second-inning grand slam, and accounting for seven RBIs as the Lady Badgers earned a 15-7 victory in their regular-season finale.
More importantly, the performance propelled Lampasas back into the postseason following a one-year absence, and Lady Badgers head coach Cassie Crabtree believes Corbin deserves a lot of the credit for the playoff-clinching win.
“She carried us with that grand slam in the beginning,” Crabtree said. “That was the momentum booster, and she has been working so hard. We’ve been videotaping her swing lately, and she has just been dissecting it. She truly knows her swing right now, and it showed.”
Corbin’s intial at-bat resulted in an out, but she was practically unstoppable afterward, hitting a grand slam in the second inning before posting a standup double off the centerfield
wall in the fourth and connecting on a second home run — a three-run shot — in the fifth inning.
While Corbin was taken aback by her overall showing, in the moment, she had no doubt about her dominance.
“I automatically knew when I hit them,” she said of her home runs. “I can just feel it when I hit them.”
Led by Corbin, every Lady Badger in the lineup scored a run as the team posted 14 hits, with five players finishing with multiple hits.
Right fielder Megan Sittner went 4 of 5, including a three-run home run to left field in the fourth inning, while Alyssa Maldonado, Presli Procter and Alex Caruthers added two hits apiece for Lampasas.
After losing five of their previous seven games, the performance was exactly what the Lady Badgers needed, according to Crabtree.
“We talked about how we needed to get our momentum back offensively,” she said. “In the beginning of the season, we were hitting the ball hard, everybody was contributing, and then we went down a little bit. Tonight was a team effort. It was people who were in the bottom of our lineup producing or our slapper stepping up a couple of times. Everybody got a chance at the plate to be a leader.”
The victory sends Lampasas into the postseason for the first time since 2012, when the Lady Badgers reached the regional semifinals for a second consecutive year.
Placing third in District 8-3A, Lampasas opens its playoff run against Stephenville at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at home. The best-of-three series continues Saturday with Game 2 set to start at noon at Stephenville. If necessary, Game 3 will immediately follow Game 2.
To be successful, Lampasas (20-7, 5-5) needs to maintain the form it displayed against Burnet.
The Lady Badgers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, scoring a pair of runs off Caruthers standup double off the wall. Lampasas designated player Presli Proctor increased the cushion to 3-0 in the second inning before Corbin’s first grand slam of her high school career gave the Lady Badgers seven unanswered runs.
Lampasas’ lead grew to 8-0 before the Lady Bulldogs (15-12, 3-7) put together a four-run third inning to chop the deficit in half.
“The mood changed a lot,” Crabtree said of the dugout.
But the Lady Badgers responded, using Corbin’s and Sitter’s three-run home runs in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, to take complete control and effectively end the team’s offensive struggles.
“We went in a hitting slump as a team, and I went into a hitting slump too,” Corbin said. “I just went back to the basics, went back to the fundamentals, just relaxed and let my hitting work itself out.”
Contact Clay Whittington at email@example.com