The Lady Tigers (13-5, 1-1) weren't beaten Wednesday, March 11 by great pitching from the Needville Lady Bluejays (10-7, 2-0) or by a lot of big hits. In the Lady Tigers 9-4 loss to Needville, it was a barrage of bunts, steals and Wharton errors that ultimately did the team in.
"(With) a little bit more hustle and they've got to believe they can hang with a team like this. That was the difference in the game," Wharton Coach Kelli Treybig said. "Katelynn (Schneider) had a great outing, she's been working on a couple of pitches and (struck) out a couple of batters, but we've just got to have better defense. We can hang with anybody in district if we just tighten up on our defense a little bit more."
Needville's lead-off hitter Celeste Aguilar and two-hole hitter Haleigh Jack combined for six hits, all within the infield. They also stole five bases and scored six of the Lady Bluejays’ nine runs.
Needville pulled out the win, but Wharton didn't go away quietly.
In the top of the first inning, with one out and WHS’s Courtney Coleman on third after a leadoff triple, Asijah Hammons lifted a line drive over the center field wall giving Wharton a 2-0 lead.
The lead was short-lived as Aguilar and Jack both reached base with a bunt and later came around to score on an error, tying the game. Schneider was able to get out of the inning without any more damage despite working with two runners in scoring position with no outs.
Wharton again got on the scoreboard in the top of the third. With two outs and a runner on, Needville intentionally walked Hammons to avoid her having a chance to extend the lead with a swing of her bat. However, the plan backfired as back-to-back singles by Emily Simper and Cyra Rodriguez brought two runs and gave Wharton the lead again. Rodriguez's single was Wharton's final hit until the seventh inning, trailing by five runs.
Needville answered with a run in the bottom of the third and took a two-run lead in the following inning. A three error inning by Wharton in the fifth allowed Needville to extend its lead to five runs, all but putting the game out of reach for the Lady Tigers.
Wharton breezed through non-district play putting up big offensive numbers. Matched against a team which plays top-notch softball the Lady Tigers could not match that same level, this time, which Treybig hopes is a learning experience for her team.
"Even though we didn't win, they gained a little bit of confidence," Treybig said. "That should help us going into (the rest of district). They got a little bit of a break until next week. Hopefully, we'll settle down and play better defense and compete."
The Lady Tigers will be back in action Tuesday, March 17 at home against Brookshire Royal. They'll end the week on Friday, March 20 against Sealy, which made the playoffs last year.
Ribbon cutting dedication cancelled
Wharton ISD announced on Friday, March 13 that the planned ribbon cutting and dedication of Wharton Tiger Field next week has been cancelled. It was planned Tuesday, March 17.
The new softball field and renovated baseball field will still be used when WHS hosts Brookshire Royal. The baseball game begins at 5 p.m., the softball action at 6 p.m.