LAMPASAS — Jon Davis could not ask for anything more.
For years, Lampasas lived in obscurity, struggling to find relevance on the field but experiencing little success. With just one playoff appearance since 2006, the Badgers grew accustomed to missing out on the postseason.
This year, however, things are different.
On the heels of Friday evening’s 9-1 victory against Salado, Lampasas improved to 7-0 in District 27-4A, securing at least the second seed in the upcoming playoffs.
Now, with three games remaining in the regular season, the Badgers have their eyes on a potential district championship, and Davis could not ask for anything more.
“This is big deal,” Lampasas’ third baseman said. “I’m a senior, so this is my last season, and I want to help put our mark on this program.
“A few years ago, we weren’t very good, but to see such a bright future is just great.”
The Eagles never challenged the Badgers as pitchers Ace Whitehead and Marty Ybarra combined to allow just one hit, while Lampasas’ offense finished with eight.
Like Davis, teammate Austin Hilgenberg is enjoying the success.
“Compared to last year,” the first baseman said, “when we missed the playoffs by a game and had seven one-run losses in district, this feels really good.
“We have a different vibe at practice, and everyone is just trying to getter better, and it shows.”
The Badgers scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning as Ethan Rascoe and Jon Davis hit consecutive RBI singles, and the score held until the third inning, when Lampasas (16-10 overall) scored three runs on a pair of hits. First, catcher Hunter Rebando was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, sending Gauge Gholson across home plate, before Hilgenberg hit a two-RBI double to right field.
Salado (11-13, 3-4) responded in the bottom of the fourth inning, when Rustin Hale, scored a run off an error.
But the Eagles would not get any closer.
The Badgers put the contest out of reach in the sixth inning thanks in part to Davis’ two-run double that fueled a four-run outburst.
“As the season has gone on,” Lampasas head coach Shane Doege said, “we’ve gotten better at stringing a couple hits together, and then delivering a knockout punch. Jon did that for us tonight.
“We’re getting good at having those timely hits pretty consistently.”
Davis (3 RBIs, run) and Rascoe (RBI, run) finished with two hits apiece for the Badgers, while Gholson scored three runs and Hilgenberg added three RBIs.
Hale was responsible for Salado’s lone hit.
While the Badgers know they have the playoffs looming regardless of how the remaining contests play out, unlike previous seasons, Lampasas is not content with merely advancing.
“One of our focuses right now is Liberty Hill,” Davis said.
“They are right there with us at the top of the standings, so we want to battle with them in our final two games and take that first spot.
“We want to win the district championship.”