Kloe Corbin’s power is obvious, and so is her potential.
Despite being a freshman, Lampasas’ catcher is comfortably established as one of the Lady Badgers’ leaders, hovering around the top of virtually every major hitting statistic. Although her experience is limited, Corbin possesses a unique knack for timing, producing her best game of the season during a playoff-clinching performance at Burnet on Friday.
Needing a victory in the regular season finale to avoid falling into a three-way tie for third place in the District 8-3A standings, forcing the Lady Badgers to fight for one of the two remaining postseason berths, Corbin safely guided Lampasas past its potential pitfall.
The big hitter went 3 for 5 with two home runs, including a grand slam, and finished with seven RBIs as Lampasas cruised to a 15-7 win against the Lady Bulldogs, securing a return to the playoffs.
After witnessing Corbin catapult Lampasas back into prominence following the program’s first postseason absence since 2008, Cassie Crabtree believes her slugger is only beginning to scratch the surface of her capabilities.
“The kid has so much power, and for a freshman, she has so much potential,” the Lady Badgers head coach said. “She has a plan when she goes up to the plate, and that is what helped us beat Burnet — we had a plan.”
Led by Corbin, who also hit a double off the top of the wall and fell about five feet shy of recording a third home run against the Lady Bulldogs, Lampasas (20-7) finished with 14 hits. It was the most hits by the Lady Badgers since posting an identical amount in a disheartening loss to Gatesville earlier in the month, triggering a downward trend for the team as it lost three of four games before beating Burnet.
Having seen her team rise to No. 4 in the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s poll before plummeting out of the rankings altogether, Corbin knows the offensive outburst against the Lady Bulldogs was vital.
“We had a really good start to our season, but then during the middle, we fell down a bit and got into a hitting slump,” she said. “The game against Burnet really pumps us up a lot because we hit really well in this game, and it just gives us a good feeling going into the playoffs.”
The Lady Badgers begin their bi-district series against Stephenville on Thursday at Lampasas with opening pitch set for 7 p.m. The site shifts to Stephenville on Saturday as Game 2 is set to begin at noon with Game 3, if necessary, to immediately follow.
Although Crabtree has a wealth of weapons, with every player who has recorded at least 15 at-bats hitting .250 or better, perhaps nobody is more critical to the Lady Badgers’ success than Corbin.
Corbin completed the regular season third on the team with a .435 batting average, finishing second in RBIs (44), hits (37) and runs scored (35) while also hitting a team-high 11 home runs.
Based on her scouting, Crabtree feels Corbin and the rest of the Lady Badgers should feel at ease during the series against Stephenville (14-13-1).
“They are a lot like the teams in our district,” Crabtree said. “They play some small ball, can make anything happen and rely on their offense, and that is what we are used to.”
While Corbin has never experienced a playoff game at the varsity level, she feels prepared both as an individual and a team, and like her skills, her confidence is obvious.
“We just need to keep working hard in practice, putting in the effort, being humble and let our fundamentals do the work,” she said. “When we play like a team and we hit like we did against Burnet, nobody is going to be able to beat us.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org