An all-around team effort lifted the Lehman Lobos over the Westlake Chaparrals 6-4 on Senior Night Friday at Lehman High.
The Lobos were first to tally a run after junior pitcher Kaylee Wipff hit an RBI double in the bottom of the first.
After 3.2 hitless innings pitched from Wipff, Westlake senior shortstop Juliana Brown rifled an RBI double to tie the game at 1-1.
The Chaps made consistent contact at the plate in the top of the fifth inning, earning three runs on three hits to give them a 4-1 lead.
After losing the lead they had held for four innings, Baggett preached perseverance to her team.
“I just said whatever you do don’t give up,” said Baggett. “Don’t be thinking about how many innings are left – go out in this inning right now and you get the job done. Be aggressive when you’re taking your lead, stay in diving distance and don’t be scared to run. If you think you’ve got it – go.”
Senior third baseman Alyssa Martinez took her coach’s words to heart, understanding the trust forged among teammates. She fulfilled that trust by drilling a base hit with two outs in the fifth inning.
“There were two outs, so I felt like it all comes down to me at that point,” said Martinez. “It’s either going to be three outs or it’s going to be a base hit – so with that mentality I’m not thinking I’m gonna crush the ball, I’m just gonna go out there and get a base hit.”
Martinez’s base hit was then followed by four straight two-out Lobo singles up the middle of the Chaparral defense.
“I got to put it in my team’s hands and I did and they came out and had my back as well – we had each other’s backs,” said Martinez.
With the bases loaded, Lobo senior left fielder Elexianna Artiaga made the play of the game with a three-RBI triple to clear the bases and give Lehman back the lead.
“I just kept my eye on it, judged it my best, and ran my heart out,” said Artiaga. “A lot of built up emotion for real. I just played my heart out for my last time. It was good while it lasted.”
Wipff capitalized on the regained momentum and struck out two batters in the top of the sixth.
After pitching all seven innings the night before in a game against Lake Travis, Wipff made a potential game-saving play in her 14th straight inning pitched.
Following a Westlake triple, Wipff snagged a chopper bouncing toward the mound and picked off the Chaparral runner on third.
“I checked third, and I noticed how far off she was,” said Wipff. “I knew how close the score was, so I figured if third baseman was covering last minute choice I could go one, but I saw the opportunity so I just took it.”
Perhaps fittingly, Wipff’s fifth strike-out on the night closed the game and earned a win for Lehman.
“Wipff pitched her behind off,” said Baggett. “She did an amazing job. She is by no means a quitter. She goes out and does her job.”
With ice covering her upper body, Wipff gave credit to her teammates while noting the hard work she has put in with Lobo catcher Audri Dienhart.
“Pretty much just working with my catcher – then it’s just figuring out what was working, and what the batters were struggling on.” said Wipff.
In addition to her praise for Wipff, Baggett said this win was a team effort.
“Tonight everybody did their part, everybody made the plays they needed to make,” said Baggett. “I’ve been telling them you are perfectly capable of beating any one of these teams out here. You got to start on it early and you have to keep getting through it, have to keep hitting. Forget the mistakes and just keep going and don’t let one little thing get you down.”
With it being Senior Night, emotions were high following this upset win for Martinez.
“Considering that we were the underdogs, having that win is bursts all your nerves at once – it’s so exciting,” said Martinez. “I almost wanted to pee on myself.”
Although Artiaga’s bladder was in check, she admits that this win was special.