Early jitters didn’t stop the Hays Rebels softball team (3-1) from cruising past the Del Valle Cardinals in a 9-4 win Monday at the Lady Rebel Softball Field.
Solid team hitting and speed around the bases were catalysts for Rebel success.
“I’m proud of the girls,” said Hays head coach Lisa Cone. “We were patient at the plate. I mean we didn’t have a big, huge inning, but we scored a couple here and there and that’s good. We kept our bats going.”
Hays trailed 2-0 in the first inning after a walk by junior starting pitcher Maxine Valdez set up a two-run Del Valle home run over the right field fence.
Valdez gained composure quickly after the early mistake, finishing the game with eight strikeouts in five innings pitched, while only allowing four runs.
“She was a little nervous tonight, being the first home game,” Cone said about Valdez. “I know that she was dealing a little bit with the nerves. At the beginning of the game, she had a little bit of a hard time finding the strike zone, but then she settled down after that first inning and did fine.”
Valdez got the scoring started for the Rebels in the bottom of the first inning with an RBI double to left field, which cut the Cardinals’ lead to 2-1.
Outfielder Kaylin Davis placed Hays in the lead in the second inning with a bases clearing inside-the-park home run to center field. Davis went 2-for-4 with three runs batted in and also had a stolen base.
“So we talked about the fact that we have a lot of speed this year,” Cone said about Davis’ three-run inside-the-park home run. “It’s definitely obvious. We put a lot of pressure on the defense and they made some mistakes because they had to hurry.”
Del Valle made the game interesting in the fifth inning after a triple brought in two base runners and cut the Rebel lead to 5-4.
A two-run double from Rebel junior first baseman Bri Rodriguez halted the Cardinals rally and helped Hays to secure the win.
Cone said improvement each time the Rebels are on the diamond is her focus as the Rebels near the district schedule.
“We still have things to work on, but I feel like we’re better than we were the last time we were out,” Cone said. “I still feel like we are improving every time. Defensively sometimes we have been sitting back and not charging the ball, but tonight we did more of that. You know going to get the ball and coming across and making great plays. So I’m still seeing improvement every time out and that’s so important.”
The Rebels return to action Feb. 23 when they host Pflugerville Hendrickson (2-5).