Vista Ridge dropped their first game of the Round Rock ISD softball showcase tournament then steamrolled its next four opponents to improve to 8-5 on the season.
“Our young pitchers are really starting to find their groove and we are really starting to get some timely hitting,” head coach Lauren Myrick said.
The Lady Rangers opened their tournament with an uneven loss to host Westwood as the early morning start time seemed to catch Vista Ridge hitting the snooze button.
“We were pretty lethargic against Westwood, they are solid, but we really were never in the game, it was a bit embarrassing but the girls really stepped up after that,” Myrick said.
Emilie Casady took the pitching reins last year as a freshman, huge shoes to fill after the departure of Central Texas player of the year and four-year starter Jorden Russell. Myrick, who led the Rangers to the state finals in 2015 and took a rebuilding team into playoffs last year in Class 5A, indicated that Casady had a good season.
“Emilie learned a lot about pitching and even more about location and change of speed, she finished strong and this season we got her a little help,” Myrick said.
Help in the form of another freshman pitcher, Chloe Smith, who has been getting time on the mound and looks to be a solid duo with Casady heading into district play.
Emilie and Casady are doing a good job, and the defense has picked up, but the best addition has been the bat of catcher Daryn Haslam.
If the pitchers had a tall order, Haslam has just as big of shoes to fill as she steps in behind the plate where Nicole Ochonotki graduated with a career .400 average and a rifle-strong throwing arm.
“It’s hard to describe the absence of a player like Ocho, she was incredibly talented, but Daryn has been crushing the ball and as a junior is really doing a good job,” Myrick said.
The Rangers are pre-season district 25-6A playoff contenders along with Lake Travis, Westlake and Hays. Myrick knows that 6A is definitely a step up in talent
“We schedule tough early and took some lumps, the biggest differences are at the bottom of the order where you see more good hitters in 6A and every team has at least two pitchers,” Myrick said. “We’ll be ready.”