It wasn’t supposed to end this way for the Lewisville High School softball team.
Instead of finishing its promising season on a hot, dusty softball diamond somewhere far from home, the Farmers played out their final act two weeks ago on Senior Night. The fact that there was still a cool nip in the air was a reminder that injuries and offensive woes had kept them far from their dream of a return to UIL state championship weekend in Austin.
LHS lost to Plano 4-1 on Senior Night, their seventh consecutive defeat to end the season. It was a loss to Plano back in late March that set the Farmers on their downward trend that culminated in their seventh place finish in District 6-6A.
That night, All–America pitcher Maribeth Gorsuch collided with teammates while attempting to field a fly ball in the 3-2 loss that dropped LHS to fifth in district. She suffered a concussion and never returned to action.
“The season certainly didn't end up the way we hoped,” Farmers coach Lori Alexander said. “It has been a tough season for sure. I feel like we did ok considering the circumstances. We didn't make it and it feels awkward for sure as deep as we have been the past three years.”
A low-key compliment was paid to the Lewisville High School girls soccer program when District 6–6A coaches voted for the recently-completed season’s superlatives and all-district team.
After a season that began with a handful of 6-6A teams ranked among the area’s best and concluded with Flower Mound capturing the Class 6A state championship, it was LHS first-year coach Jamie Pulpaneck who was honored by her peers as district coach of the year.
The honor speaks to the rebuilding project underway at Max Goldsmith Stadium. In an academic year that will pass without a single LHS athletic team advancing to the postseason, it was Pulpaneck’s unlikely soccer team that finished its season closest to playoff participation.
Plano defeated the Lady Farmers 1-0 in the regular season finale to clinch 6-6A’s fourth and final playoff spot. Playing for a postseason berth on the last day of the season was the furthest thing from Pulpaneck’s mind when she accepted the challenge to take over the soccer program at her alma mater after a year away from coaching.
“I knew coming in, it wouldn’t be easy,” Pulpaneck said. “We don’t have the numbers of kids that other schools in our district do, and even fewer who play outside of school soccer. But I also knew I was a Farmer and I wanted to see pride back in the program.”
Elite and club soccer generally takes precedence over the spring school season. It is at the club level where players get year-round instruction and showcase their talents to college coaches. Competitive high school teams are typically comprised of a high number of club soccer stars and most 6-6A schools don’t have a starter who doesn’t also play for a club.
Lewisville softball team stands together before the game against McKinney Boyd. (Photo by Anthony Mazur)
By ANTHONY MAZUR
Lewisville’s softball and baseball teams have not had the best of luck this week; The Farmer softball team has dropped in district standings and the baseball team has been unable to catch up, stuck behind in a loss to Plano.
The Farmer softball team (15-12) sunk to seventh place in district after losing 14-13 to McKinney Boyd (4-15, 9th in district). Last week, Lewisville was in sixth place.
Lewisville junior pitcher Collin Storms throws the ball in the 1st inning during the game against Flower Mound. (Photo by Anthony Mazur)
Lewisville sophomore Yealex Lopez tags out Flower Mound’s Jake Kelley in the top of the 3rd. (Photo by Anthony Mazur)
By ANTHONY MAZUR
After an initial loss against Allen, only to come back and win the last game of that series, the Farmer baseball team (10-14, 8th in 6-6A) needed to stay on track to be viable for playoff contention.
Going into the Flower Mound game yesterday 5th in district, the Farmers were hoping to keep their chances alive. Flower Mound, second in district, had other plans, and ignited a 7-run ninth inning to win 7-0.
Both teams were scoreless for most of the game, resulting in extra innings. Flower Mound was able to earn a run in the top of the ninth, and then Flower Mound’s really bats began to flare up.
Flower Mound’s Parker Scott hit a ball to the fence, allowing two runs. Lewisville only managed to get five hits, compared to Flower Mound’s 12. The Farmers also had three errors.
“They got a base hit at the right time,” Lewisville head coach Mike Campbell said. “Nobody had been able to do that up to that point. All they needed one and they got it.”
Campbell also noticed besides the infield errors, the Farmers need to work on their batting.
“Other than the fact that we need to play our game, we need to hit better,” he said. “We got to hit in clutch situations.”
The Farmers can not rest if they wish to escape the bottom of the standings. Among their last few opponents is McKinney Boyd, third in 6-6A, and Plano, now ahead of them in sixth place.
“We’re going to keep fighting like we have all year,” he said. “We’ve played hard. We’ve played well. We’re going to try and win the last four games.”
Lewisville’s next game is away against Plano on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
The fortunes of the Lewisville High School softball and baseball teams are headed in opposite directions during the “pennant race” portions of their respective regular seasons. And it’s the Farmer baseball team that is entering its final handful games with positive momentum.
Going into Saturday afternoon’s game against Flower Mound, the LHS baseball team is tied with Allen for fourth place in District 6-6A. The top four teams in the district standings advance to postseason action.
Lewisville has surged into playoff contention on the strength of recent play. The Farmers have won four of their last five games, including a two-game sweep of district foe Plano East.
Hebron went into Friday night action as the district leader with a 9-2 mark. Flower Mound sits 1.5 games back with a 7-3 record heading into today’s 1 p.m. game at LHS. The Farmers have already dropped three games to the district leaders.
Boyd’s 6-4 district record is good enough for third place, one game ahead of both Allen and Lewisville (10-13 overall). Six of the Farmers’ 10 district games have been decided by one run. Junior starters Collin Storms and Angelo Gennari have each earned two district wins, with relief pitcher Ben Miller picking up the other district victory.
Consequently, close losses (and the injury bug) are a big reason why the LHS softball team sat in sixth place in District 6-6A going into its Friday night home game against Plano East.
Five of the Farmers district losses have been by two runs or less, including two of the last three. After dropping a tense one-run decision to Flower Mound last Friday, they were shut out 5-0 at district leader Plano West on Wednesday.
The Wolves led Flower Mound by two games going into Friday night action, with Plano firmly in third place at 10-4 and Plano East and Hebron tied for the final playoff spot at 6-7.
The Farmer softball team closes out the regular season with two games next week— at Boyd on Tuesday and at home against Plano on Friday. After today’s game against Flower Mound, the LHS baseball team faces Plano and Boyd twice each.