New season, new chance for Lady Cavs
Lakeland’s softball team proved one thing Wednesday afternoon, even though it was only in a scrimmage against visiting Churchland.
The Lady Cavaliers have a versatile squad. Nearly every Lady Cavalier played two or three different spots on the field and Lakeland got good pitching from three different hurlers in the last scrimmage before the regular season starts Tuesday against Southeastern District opponent Deep Creek.
With eight returning players from last year’s varsity team, head coach Steve Wood feels last year’s 4-16 record is motivation enough to spark improvement this spring.
“The girls are playing together and they’re enthusiastic. They’re ready to turn things around,” Wood said.
Wednesday afternoon, Lakeland got six innings of shutout pitching and defense before Churchland scored three times in the top of the seventh for a 3-2 win.
Newcomer Vici Treat pitched the first three innings, allowing one hit while getting four strikeouts and four groundball outs.
Erika Wood, who saw some time in the circle last year subbing for main starter Ashley Carroll, kept Churchland off the board in the fourth and fifth frames. Chelsea Speight, normally Lakeland’s starting second baseman, retired Churchland in order in the sixth before Churchland’s rally in the seventh.
“Our pitching looked pretty good. We started with our defense playing well and our pitching doing well. We worked out jams a couple times, but the jam (in the seventh), we made a few mistakes, but those are things we’ll work on,” Wood said.
Lakeland got runners into scoring position in the second and third innings before breaking through in the fourth.
Marissa Betkowski started the inning with a sharp single to right and stole second a couple pitches into Crystal Treat’s at-bat.
Crystal Treat ripped a hard one-hopper past Churchland’s third baseman. Betkowski had to hold at third, but Treat moved into second on Churchland’s throw back into the infield.
Vici Treat made it three straight hits, lining a single into right field and scoring both runners.
Between the returners from last year’s team and the newcomers onto the team, who have plenty of softball experience from travel clubs, Wood believes his team is talented enough to move up in the district.
“When everyone starts gelling together, we’ll be good,” Wood said.
Lakeland showed some versatility at the plate as well. Ninth-place hitter Mary Ellis connected for two singles and reached base all three times up.
Wood still wants one or two leaders on his team, but at the same time, he understands it’ll be a bit of a process on a team with only two seniors. “I’ve had a few girls who I think might be stepping up, but we’re still looking,” Wood said.
“We’re going to play together and get respect. We’re going to be a team that when people come and play us, they better play their “A” game,” Wood said.