Alyssa Maldonado knew what she had to do.
Trailing by three runs following the top of the first inning, Lampasas’ sophomore stepped to the plate with one purpose in mind.
“My thoughts were that we had to get our bats going,” the shortstop said. “We were going to have to really pull together and get our bats going as a team. We had to pick each other up.”
Facing a full count, Maldonado followed through with her intentions, delivering a two-run home run over the centerfield wall, sparking the then-No. 4 Lady Badgers to a 7-4 victory against Gatesville in the District 8-3A opener.
But the home run was only the start.
Maldonado finished the game just shy of producing a cycle, hitting a single and double in her next two at-bats.
The effort helped produce a lopsided win for Lampasas, and it allowed Maldonado to easily earn the first KDHpressbox.com Player of the Week honor of her short career.
Maldonado received 52 percent of the total vote, tallying over 1,000 votes in the process.
In one of the highest yielding polls of the year, Maldonado finished with 1,059 votes to beat out some impressive competition.
Copperas Cove pitcher Bryce Delano delivered a pair of standout performances for the Bulldawgs, helping them extend their winning streak to six games after earning just five victories all of last season.
At Killeen, the senior connected on a grand slam and gave up only four hits on the mound en route to a 13-3 victory to open District 8-5A play before following it up with a hit and two runs in a 6-5 win against Shoemaker.
Delano finished second in the balloting with 569 votes, edging out Salado ace Casey Frazier.
Frazier, the defending District 22-2A MVP and 2013 KDHpressbox.com All-Area MVP, was on point against Rosebud-Lott, tossing a perfect game. Frazier struck out eight batters in a five-inning, 10-0 victory and received 406 votes.
Rounding out the nominees is Belton pitcher Tanner Frick, who threw a no-hitter against Ellison. The sophomore finished with nine strikeouts and did not walk a batter, helping the Tigers cruise to a 10-0 run-rule victory that ended in the fifth inning.
In the end, however, nobody could keep pace with Maldonado, who currently leads the Lady Badgers in hits (33), doubles (15), triples (3), RBIs (36) and batting average (.550).
She will look to improve those numbers tonight as No. 7 Lampasas (17-2, 2-0) hosts Brownwood before traveling to face No. 6 Liberty Hill on Tuesday in a top-10 showdown.
In the process, Maldonado will look to have more at-bats like the one that propelled her team against Gatesville.
“I told myself, ‘I need to hold and wait on this pitch as much as possible,’” she said of her home run. “So, that’s what I did, and I swung and hit it. It felt amazing.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org