By Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
GEORGETOWN - After trying and failing another celebratory post-game handstand, Kady Crow went back to what she does best.
Walking with her chest thrust out and her hands on her hips, the Lampasas senior ace displayed her team's first-round dominance in true Lady Badger fashion - with a playful strut.
Following some first-inning doldrums, Crow and the rest of the Lady Badgers found their groove through some good ol' fashion tomfoolery.
Whether it was Crow cracking jokes in the dugout, or fellow seniors Tealey Farquhar and Hadley Brown showing off their dance moves from the top of buckets, Lampasas' loose approach paid off with a 10-2 victory Monday to sweep Wimberley in their best-of-three bi-district playoff series at the East View Softball Complex.
"There's a time when you need to focus, there's a time, but at that point and time we just really needed to take a deep breath, cool down and get the job done - and have fun while doing it," Crow said.
The Lady Badgers (24-8) advance to the area round where they'll face No. 12-ranked Pleasanton later this week in Kerrville at a time and date to be determined. As the champion out of District 28-3A, Pleasanton received a first-round bye.
"It was just our night, it was one of those nights where it finally fell in place," Lampasas coach Rusty Erwin said. "And they deserve it, they've worked hard and played hard."
Nursing a 2-1 advantage, the Lady Badgers offense woke up in the fourth with three consecutive two-out hits from the top of the lineup, including RBI doubles by Crow and Brown.
Crow's double came after Wimberley pitcher Mallory Henry unsuccessfully attempted a pitchout on a 2-0 count, as the Lampasas senior sent the offering into left-center to score Farquhar from second.
"That first inning we were all uptight. We got to win this first game, we didn't want to play the second," said Crow, who finished 3-for-4 at the plate and pitched a six-hit gem on the mound. "And I think that with me and Tealey cracking jokes, everything kind of fell in place."
Wimberley kept the pressure on in the fifth, putting together three hits of their own - including an RBI single by Katrina Spangenberg to make it 4-2.
But like she'd done most of the night, a relaxed Crow managed to work herself out of a jam with sturdy defense as freshman third baseman Marisa Maldonado connected with catcher Kelci Gilseth for a run-saving play at the plate for the second out and Crow induced an easy groundout back to the mound for the final out.
That's when the fun really started for Lampasas.
With Maldonado at second after reaching for the third time courtesy of Wimberley errors, freshman Alex Caruthers (2-for-4) battled through an 11-pitch at-bat, repeatedly pulling balls foul before lofting a fly ball into deep left field that fell through Spangenberg's glove for a three-bag error.
"Oh my gosh, I told myself if they're inside just turn in so it'll hit you, but I didn't want to get bruises because I bruise so easily, so I just kept pulling everything," Caruthers said.
The next four Lady Badgers reached base, including Blake Webb on an RBI single that scored Caruthers, and an RBI triple by Farquhar to plate Tori Caruthers from second.
"When we get on that high … we feel like we're invincible," Crow said. "That's just a great feeling, and you can't take it away from us. We have it and you can't take it away."
In the next at-bat, Crow was finally intentionally walked to set up Brown, who plated Farquhar from third on a sacrifice fly before cleanup hitter Hailey Morrison scored Crow on an RBI double down the left-field line to cap a six-run fifth inning and go ahead 10-2.