LIBERTY HILL — Lampasas lost a game, but Shane Doege has not lost confidence.
Looking to capture a share of the District 27-4A championship, the Badgers traveled to No. 4 Liberty Hill attempting to extend a nearly monthlong winning streak.
The Panthers, however, would not allow it.
Liberty Hill limited Lampasas to just three hits and used a late three-run outburst to secure a 5-0 victory, clinching at least a share of the district title.
While the outcome was disappointing, Lampasas’ head coach has no doubt his players will be prepared for the series finale Tuesday.
“We didn’t fold or cower from this game,” Doege said, “and that’s what we want. We feel like we are on their level.
“I know we will rebound mentally.”
For a majority of the contest, the Badgers were within striking distance of an upset.
Despite struggling to deliver offensively through the first three innings, Lampasas held the Panthers to just a pair of runs, allowing Liberty Hill to round the bases in the first and third innings, and the score held through the fourth inning.
But in the fifth inning, the Panthers began connecting at the plate.
Liberty Hill (24-3-1, 9-0) posted three runs on four hits, including catcher Kory Schmidt’s two-RBI home run to left field, during the inning to break the game open, and Lampasas could not respond.
“We have to be able to string together some hits,” Doege said. “Even with what Liberty Hill did on offense, having zero runs isn’t going to win any ballgames.
“We have to find more hits and get runners in scoring position.”
Logan Coleman, a freshman, was 2 for 3 for the Badgers, and teammate Ace Whitehead was responsible for the team’s only other hit, going 1 for 3.
The loss snapped Lampasas’ eight-game win streak dating back to March 22, but the defeat will quickly be forgotten if the Badgers are victorious Tuesday at home.
Regardless of the outcome, Lampasas (17-11, 8-1) will make just its second playoff appearance since 2006 when the postseason begins, and although there is a possibility the Badgers’ regular-season schedule ends in disappointment, Doege is certain it will strengthen the team.
“This is great preparation,” he said. “I love the way our schedule fell. Liberty Hill is a state-ranked team for a reason, and getting them right before the playoffs is what we want.
“We want to see how well we match up with high-caliber teams. It gives us a gauge or where we are and where we want to be.”