LAMPASAS — Alyssa Maldonado went 2 for 2, including a solo home run and accounted for three RBIs. Then the second inning started.
Lampasas’ leadoff hitter sent the second pitch she saw over the centerfield wall, sparking a seven-run first inning for the No. 28 Lady Badgers, who cruised to a 12-0 run-rule victory against Llano on Tuesday evening.
Following the game, Maldonado said she felt the momentum completely swing in Lampasas’ direction the second she made contact.
“As soon as it came off the bat, I knew it was a home run,” the sophomore said. “I feel like that just made us more comfortable and gave us the mentality that we could do this, and winning would be no big deal.”
Her instinct was correct.
All but two Lady Badgers in the starting lineup scored in the first inning before the team capitalized on an error-filled third inning to build a double-digit lead, virtually securing the win.
Maldonado went 3 of 4 at the plate, hitting a pair of singles after her home run, and scored two runs to go with her trio of RBIs.
Despite being state-ranked and sitting in sole possession of third place in the District 8-3A standings entering the game, Lampasas was in desperate need of a victory after losing three of its previous four, including a heartbreaking upset at Gatesville on Friday.
After leading 9-5 to start the bottom of the seventh inning, Lampasas gave up five runs to the Lady Hornets, including a game-winning, two-RBI double from Ashlee Green.
“It was very disappointing,” Lampasas left fielder Blakeli Brookreson said of the loss at Gatesville. “All of a sudden, one thing can ruin a whole, entire game. So, it was very important for us to have a performance like we did tonight. … We have to start playing like we did.”
Maldonado agreed Friday’s loss was demoralizing.
“We were really upset and really angry at each other,” the shortstop said. “We just didn’t want to see each other, and we didn’t know what to do.”
Against the Lady Yellow Jackets, who fell to 1-6 in district with the loss, the Lady Badgers (19-5, 4-3) appeared to regain their form, looking like the team that opened the season with a 17-2 record while working their way up to No. 4 in the Texas Girls Coaches Association poll.
Seven of Lampasas’ first nine batters reached base with all seven scoring before leaving the bases loaded to end the inning. Following Maldonado’s home run, Marissa Maldonado, who went 2 for 2 with a pair of RBIs, and Kloe Corbin each recorded a single.
Moments later, with the bases loaded, Marissa Maldonado scored as Alex Caruthers was walked before Presli Peters connected on a RBI single to send Corbin across home plate.
Three batters later, Alyssa Maldonado produced a two-RBI single in her second at-bat of the first inning, giving Lampasas seven unanswered runs to open the game.
“I felt really confident when I was batting,” Alyssa Maldonado said. “I just did what I knew I could do.”
The score held until the third inning, when Lampasas scored four runs on three hits while being aided by three Llano errors.
Brookreson went 2 for 3 with a run scored in the game, and teammate Blake Webb scored three times, but while the offense was rolling, Lampasas head coach Cassie Crabtree was equally pleased with her team’s defense. The Lady Badgers did not commit an error and freshman pitcher Sienna Lawson only allowed three Lady Yellow Jackets to get on base, striking out two batters in the process.
“Defensively, they did a stellar job,” she said. “They were communicating, and they were getting after it, so you can’t ask for much more than that.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org