Softball: Nervous McLeod masterful in 3-0 win over Lake Travis
Saturday, March 23, 2013 | | 9
Nerves nagged Westlake pitcher Lindsey McLeod’s mind leading up to her start against Lake Travis Friday night.
McLeod left the opposition shaking in their cleats in a dominant 16-strikeout, two-hit complete game 3-0 win over the visiting Lady Cavaliers Friday.
“I was super nervous – I was getting nervous about six hours before our game started,” McLeod said. “I was just kind of going into it telling myself, ‘You gotta have confidence,’ and if I do have confidence everything else will work out.”
Facing Lake Travis sophomore pitcher Zoe Bacon, Westlake (22-3, 5-0 District 15-5A) coach Haley Gaddis hadn’t seen her team enter a game on edge like they did against the Lady Cavaliers Friday. The Chaps had outscored district foes 50-8.
“I didn’t get that (feeling) till we walked out here and that’s the first time we’ve been nervous playing anybody,” Gaddis said. “Most of the game we were pretty tight. (McLeod) was probably the most nervous of everybody, she was pitching a little tight. That’s a great sign for her to be able to work through that.”
In the two school rivals’ first meeting in multiple years, No. 4 Westlake manufactured a run in the bottom of the first, giving the sophomore starter more than enough to work with. McLeod recorded three strikeouts in an inning three times, including whiffing the side in order in the fourth.
Lake Travis didn’t get a hit until shortstop Riley Cunningham’s sharp liner up the middle in the sixth inning, and catcher Makaela Williamson had a two-out single in the seventh, but McLeod promptly struck out the final hitter to seal the victory.
“Before the last inning I said, ‘Hey how about you let us play a little bit (of defense)?’ and she was like, ‘Nah, I don’t think so,’” senior first baseman Cedar Slovacek said. we know she can get the job done. We definitely feel really confident with Lindsey up there.”
Zoe Bacon aptly shutdown Westlake’s high-powered offense as well, but errors led to two unearned runs in the early going. The fellow sophomore starter gave up just four hits and had seven strikeouts in the district showdown.
“We came in pretty confident,” Bacon said. “We knew we had to hit the ball but (McLeod) isa really good pitcher, props to her.”
Stephanie Wong scored the first run of the game on a failed squeeze attempt, when she was hung up between third and home but the Lady Cavs bobbled the play and the senior scored to make it 1-0.
In the third, Wong reached on an error and came in to score on a successful squeeze by Slovacek for a 2-0 lead. Westlake whiffed on numerous bunt attempts against Bacon, including Slovacek’s attempt in the first that she missed, leading to Wong scoring.
“I thought, ‘I better get this down,’” Slovacek said. “Because I tried the at-bat before and she kinda messed with me there, but I was glad I could come back and make up for it.”
Slovacek got things started in the sixth with a single, and McLeod helped herself with an RBI double into the left-center gap for an extra insurance run heading into the Lady Cavs’ final at-bat.
“Any team can mount a comeback, especially if your team is playing tight and your pitcher is tight so that (extra run) was super, super important,” Gaddis said. “When you go to the playoffs you’ve never seen these teams before, too, so you can’t be nervous. They’re just another team.”
With the first round of district play wrapping up next week, both sides certainly have an eye on the next meeting, April 16 at Lake Travis.
“I think me and Makaela have that figured out now and i think we’ve totally got the hitting next game, too,” Bacon said. “We know where we need to go from here. (This game) totally gave us confidence. We know we can hold them, we just need to hit the ball next time.”
The two sophomore starting pitchers should have several more showdowns throughout the years.
“Going into next time we play them, if I get the chance to pitch I know what to do, where to throw now,” McLeod said.
Westlake plays Austin High 7 p.m. at Guerrero Park Tuesday.