Leonard 15, Van Alstyne 2 (5)
Van Alstyne senior Peyton Welch probably summed up the 2017 season best when she said, “There are a lot of good memories from my final season, but I could do without the injuries and the losing.”
The Leonard Lady Tigers added one more loss to that record on April 21 at Forrest Moore Park with a 15-2 win, spoiling the Van Alstyne Senior Night celebration.
The Lady Tigers are locked in a battle with Whitewright for the third spot in the district, and this win keeps them one game ahead in that District 10-3A battle.
Welch ended her injury plagued season with a hit in three trips to the plate, driving in her sister Micah with the Lady Panthers’ first run of the contest.
Peyton scored on an RBI single by junior Madi Williams, but that was it for the Van Alstyne offense.
Leonard pitcher Taylor Stricklin limited the hosts to just four hits, two after that first inning rally.
Leonard had taken a 5-0 lead in the top of the first and scored in every inning to get its eighth district win.
Van Alstyne senior Carly Ochoa, who moved into the district just before the start of school in late August, had a hit in two trips to the plate, and she had some good memories from her first and only season in Van Alstyne. She also played basketball for the Lady Panthers
“Meeting my new teammates in both sports was great and we had a lot of fun together,” Ochoa said. “I got the experience of playing catcher, something I had never done before, and I think I did pretty good. Now I get to experience the college life and I am really looking forward to that.”
Ochoa, like a lot of other Lady Panthers, was shuffled around into several positions on defense due to the numerous injuries the young team fought through.
In the bottom half of coach Jason Brogdon’s batting order for this game were two sophomores and a freshman playing key positions.
On of those was Abby Lyons, catching in just her third varsity game.
Peyton Welch, restricted to the designated hitter role due to her shoulder injury, worked with Lyons on her catching techniques.
“She did really well, she’s learning how to frame the pitch, blocking and positioning the infield, she’s going to do OK,” Welch said.
The Panthers close out the season with a 2-10 district record, but a lot of young players got some valuable experience that will pay off next season.