Winning is hard work for most teams. Shoemaker, however, is an exception.
The Lady Grey Wolves are exceeding expectations this season, winning four of their first six District 12-6A games with the lone losses coming against perennial powers Belton and Waco Midway.
Tuesday afternoon, Shoemaker extended its successful start by defeating visiting Copperas Cove 5-2, and after the victory, Lady Grey Wolves head coach Steve Mattox admitted the key is avoiding stress.
“The thing these kids are good at is being relaxed,” he said. “They are way more relaxed them I am, and they expect to win when they come out.
“I told them from Day 1 that this is their outlet, and this is where they come to have fun, scream, be loud and cut up, but they also know when it is time to be serious.”
The philosophy worked against the Lady Bulldawgs.
After allowing Copperas Cove (13-11, 4-3) to record the game’s first run in the top of the opening inning, Shoemaker gave up just three hits during the duration of the contest and did not let a runner advance beyond second base.
Although the Lady Grey Wolves are making plays on the field, other factors are beneficial, according to Shoemaker junior Alyssa Pena.
“We try our very best,” the catcher said, “and we work as a team.
“We build each other up instead of putting each other down, and that’s how we’ve been getting these wins.”
The Lady Grey Wolves responded to Copperas Cove’s initial run by putting three of their first four batters on base, beginning with centerfielder Deborah Hamilton, who connected for a leadoff single.
Moments later, teammate Tamera Johnson hit a single, before Darlene Estrella’s sacrifice fly send Hamilton across home plate. Then, hitting cleanup, Madalyne Martinez hit a RBI double to left field, giving Shoemaker a 2-1 lead.
The Lady Bulldawgs tied the score in the top of third inning, when Madalyn Scribner’s single sent Rylie Radigan, who reached base on a double, home.
Shoemaker snapped the tie in the bottom of the inning, though, as Hamilton scored from third base on a wild pitch, and the Lady Grey Wolves added a run in the fifth and sixth innings to secure the outcome.
“Our pitcher had a good game,” Mattox said, “and she had good defense behind her, and that’s what it takes.
“We swung the bat well in spurts and had some decent hits, but not like what we are use to.”
Led by Johnson, who was 2 for 4 with a pair of runs scored, Shoemaker (9-7, 5-2) finished with five hits, while Martinez tallied 10 strikeouts en route to the win.
After entering the day in a three-way tie for third place in the district standings, the Lady Grey Wolves emerge with sole possession of the spot heading into Tuesday’s game at Harker Heights.
“This is an awesome feeling,” Pena said. “We’re ready to keep fighting through district.
“We’re getting to where we want to be as a team.”
TUESDAY'S 12-6A SCORES
- Belton 12, Waco 2, 5 innings
- Killeen 17, Ellison 6, 5 innings
- Shoemaker 5, Copperas Cove 2
- Waco Midway 6, Temple 1