Dominant pitching and some timely hitting were all it took for the Hays Rebel softball team to take down the Lake Travis Cavaliers 5-0 Friday.
Rebel pitcher Maxine Valdez got the start for Hays and mowed through Lake Travis early and often. Valdez finished with 17 strikeouts in the game.
After stranding a pair of Lake Travis runners in the first inning with a strikeout, Valdez struck out the side in the second inning, and quickly had five strikeouts through two innings.
However, Lake Travis’ pitching staff followed suit and stranded six Rebel runners through the first three innings. Lake Travis threatened to take the lead in the top of the third frame.
After three consecutive walks from Valdez, Lake Travis had the bases loaded in the top of the third with just one out. Valdez dug deep and struck out the next two batters she faced to keep the game scoreless.
Despite struggles at the plate, Rebel bats came alive in the ensuing half-inning.
After back-to-back singles from Kaylin Davis and Kari Louk, followed by a line drive single from Valdez, Hays loaded the bases with no outs. Hays’ Brianna Rodriguez came to the plate looking to come through in the clutch. She did just that by launching a line drive down the left field line that brought in all three baserunners, giving Hays a 3-0 lead. Hays head coach Lisa Cone was pleased with Rodriguez’ at-bat and felt the big hit got Hays’ offense going.
“I was really glad when we got that hit, because Brianna did a great job of coming through,” Cone said. “Hitting is contagious. She got it started.”
Rebel Amaya Guerrero followed with an RBI double that scored Rodriguez and Hays jumped out to a 4-0 lead. The Lady Rebels added another run in the sixth frame via a run-scoring single from Annalise Rodriguez.
Valdez kept dominating on the mound to propel the Lady Rebels to the win. Cone lauded Valdez’ play and said she is confident when her senior pitcher is on the mound.
“She was in command of all of her pitches,” Cone said. “She did a great job of getting ahead and staying ahead, and when the hitters were battling, she didn’t give in.”
The Rebels travel to play at Anderson March 26 for the second of four straight road contests. Hays returns home April 5 when they host Austin High.