GATESVILLE — It ended with a loss but not a disappointment.
After suffering a 10-3 defeat in its opening contest of the Gatesville Invitational, the Hornets won four consecutive games entering Saturday’s contest against Bosqueville — doubling their win total prior to the tournament.
Playing in cold and wet conditions, however, Gatesville could not maintain the momentum.
The Hornets allowed four runs in the top of the third inning and never recovered, losing 7-3 before having their final contest against Waco University’s junior varsity team cancelled due to declining weather conditions.
Despite the conclusion, Gatesville head coach Jaime Villarrial believes the tournament was a success.
“We started getting hot,” he said, “and some of our key hitters started hitting the ball and making plays, and I could tell they were excited to get some wins.
“They’re starting to see some fruit from their labor. ... All the wins they got this weekend were earned, and they played well in them, which brings validation to what we are trying to do.”
Following the loss to the Tem-Cats, the Hornets defeated Lampasas 8-6, Copperas Cove 7-4 and Caddo Mills 13-3 before entering Saturday’s game against Waco Reicher.
Gatesville gave up four runs in the top of the first inning before falling behind 5-2 entering the fifth inning.
Then, the Hornets got hot.
Maci Mathews (2 hits, 3 RBIs) capped off a four-run bottom of the fourth inning with a walk-off shot, giving Gatesville a 6-5 victory.
The Lady Bulldogs would not allow a similar rally, though.
A pair of Gatesville errors in the top of the third inning led a to two Bosqueville runners scoring before a two-run home run dropped the Hornets into a 4-0 hole.
Gatesville scored a run in each of the next three innings, but it was not enough.
Nevertheless, Villarrial feels the loss was beneficial.
“It’s all about seeing good pitching and playing good teams,” he said. “We’re just trying to get better.
“I’d grade us at a B-plus or A-minus for the weekend, but there are still things we need to work on.”
But the window for improvement is closing.
The Hornets return to the field Tuesday, when they host Taylor, before concluding their nondistrict schedule with games against Hutto, Blooming Grove and Lampasas. Gatesville opens its District 18-4A schedule against state-recognized Lorena on March 19.
While the Hornets have every intention of returning to the playoffs for a second consecutive season after a two-year absence, Villarrial knows it will not be easy, and his players must use the remaining two weeks to prepare for district.
“If we play defense and pitch well,” Villarrial said, “we’re going to be in every game.
“We have to focus on pitching, defense, making the routine plays and just playing good softball.”
COVE BEATS LAMPASAS 9-6
The Lady Bulldawgs recorded four runs in each of the first two innings, and the early offense propelled Copperas Cove to its second victory against Lampasas in as many weeks.
After earning a 10-1 victory at the Marble Falls tournament last week, the Lady Bulldawgs repeated the feat as Rylie Radigan went 2 for 3 with two runs scored and an RBI, while teammate Alina Salazar hit a solo home run.
Lampasas pitcher Collyn Schuricht sent a pitch out of the park in the game’s opening at bat, but the advantage did not hold.
Behind winning pitcher Brooke Schmidt, Copperas Cove (11-9) scored eight unanswered runs before withstanding the Lady Badgers’ four-run outburst in the top of the fourth and final inning of the timed contest.
Hannah Greenberg led Lampasas offensively, going 2 for 2 with a pair of RBIs and runs.
The Lady Bulldawgs went 3-3 during the three-day tournament, including a forfeit victory Saturday against Caddo Mills after the Lady Foxes were dropped from the field, and resume District 12-6A play Tuesday, when they host Waco.
Lampasas (5-7) followed the defeat with a 5-4 loss to Waco Reicher as Schuricht (2 RBIs), Greenberg (1 run), Maddie Gates (RBI) and Shelly Case each posted two hits.
The Lady Badgers, who finished the tournament with a 1-4 record, travel to play Fredericksburg on Tuesday.
- Bosqueville 7, Gatesville 3
- Copperas Cove def. Caddo Mills, forfeit
- Copperas Cove 9, Lampasas 6
- Gatesville 6, Waco Reicher 5
- Gatesville vs. Waco University JV, canceled