Salado Softball Player Piper Randolph

Salado softball player Piper Randolph, center, displays the Freddy’s-KDHpressbox.com Player of the Week award Sunday at Freddy’s Steakburgers’ Harker Heights location. She received the award from Freddy’s general manager Wade Weihausen, left. Randolph was accompanied by her father, Mark.

Dennis Knowlton | Herald

Piper Randolph is the prototypical leadoff hitter.

The speedy, athletic Randolph was a huge reason for the success of the Salado Lady Eagles on the softball diamond.

By going 6 for 7 at the plate May 6, the freshman helped No. 20 Salado dodge elimination for the second straight week as the Lady Eagles won the final two games against Hillsboro in their best-of-three area playoff series.

Randolph was 10 for 11 in the series.

With that performance, Randolph was voted Freddy’s-KDHpressbox.com Player of the Week.

The young middle infielder is willing to do whatever it takes on the field to help her team win, and it’s a quality Salado head coach Kory Craddick admires.

“I try not to think of her, at this time of the season, as only a freshman,” Craddick said. “She battles and likes to work the count and then when she gets a good pitch to hit, she is going to put it in play and give it her all. She is so fast that she is able to leg out several plays that look like they are going to be outs.”

Not only did the fleet-footed second baseman thrive hitting at the top of the Lady Eagles’ lineup, but the freshman had quite the summer last year.

Randolph competed on the DFW Firecracker Gold 14U softball team that went undefeated to win the 2016 Triple Crown Sports USA Platinum National Title in New York.

Hitting at the top of the batting order, one might expect the job is a tall task for a freshman, but Craddick noted when the Randolph gets on base, she is a table-setter for the rest of the order.

“She’s really the fuel to our fire. She’s the gas in our engine,” Craddick said. “We really revolved around her a lot this season, and she really delivered for the whole team.”

In Game 2 of the series, Randolph went a perfect 4 for 4 against Hillsboro in a must-win game and played a pivotal role at second base on defense.

Others nominated for the award were Salado junior Ryan Oakes, Florence senior Emily Jo Gray and Harker Heights junior Tre Martin.

Oakes went 4 for 4 with a triple and two RBIs in a 14-2 playoff win over Caldwell in Game 1 of a best-of- three playoff series.

Gray tossed a four-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts in the circle in a 4-0 win over Boling. She also hit a two-run homer to open the scoring.

Martin hit a two-run single into center field in the sixth inning as the Knights rallied for a 5-4 playoff win over Cedar Hill.

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