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JH Lady Crusader softball advances to DPL championship game

Motivated to get back to the Dallas Parochial League (DPL) title game, the junior high Lady Crusaders were likely to roll over just about any opponent standing in their way during Monday’s semifinal.
St. John (11-0-1) had already beaten semifinal opponent St. Monica 11-0 and 13-1 during the regular season, which meant only a major upset would keep Big Blue out of the final two. The Lady Crusaders left no doubt with a 13-0 win in four innings. St. John out-hit St. Monica 7-1 and blew the game open during a nine-run third inning.
Meanwhile, St. Patrick (10-1) punched its ticket to the championship with a 5-1 Monday victory over St. Thomas – the team that pulled out a 1-1 lightening-shortened tie against St. John.
“Earning the best record really helped us get the easier path to the championship,” said coach Teddy Calvert.
“The girls fed off of our regular-season team goal to go undefeated and it kept them ready to play. St. Patrick definitely could’ve slipped up against St. Thomas in the semis.”
Lacie Farmer led the St. John offense with a double, a single and four RBIs, while Abby Liska (double, single, RBI) also had a two-hit game.
Megan Hickman (triple, two RBIs), Breanna Calvert (single, RBI) and Ashley Zmolik (single) each tallied hits of their own.
In the circle, Kamren Bragg (4 IP, 1 H, 0 W, 9 SO) was dominant.
After Bragg took care of business in the St. Monica first, St. John scored three runs without a hit. Liska (error) and Hickman (walk) both scored on a throwing error when the catcher made a throw off the mark trying to get Liska at third. An error on a Breanna Calvert grounder scored Laura Gomez (fielder’s choice) for the third run.
St. John went up 4-0 in the second inning via a Farmer RBI single. Meanwhile, Bragg was rolling through the St. Monica batting order as only three opposing players reached base all night.
“Lacie really swung the bat well and seemed to see the ball very well [out of the pitcher’s hand],” Calvert said.
“Kamren got behind in the count a few times [in the circle], but she was able to regain her composure and fire back with strikes. She really did a good job of throwing the changeup and this was probably her best game of the year. There are several other good pitchers in the league, but you don’t see the type of control that Kamren has.”
The third inning was a three-ring circus for the St. Monica defense as Liska led off with a single and Hickman followed with an RBI triple. Calvert smacked an RBI single two batters later and Farmer really unloaded late in the inning with a three-RBI double. Not done just yet, St. John also benefited from a Liska RBI double and a Hickman RBI groundout to finalize the score.
“Breanna had been in a slump at the plate, but she really pulled out of it when we needed it,” the coach said.
“On defense, Megan had some good grabs at shortstop and made good throws to first base. Lacie [at third], Kamren and really our whole infield made plays.”
Though neither team scored in the fourth, Zmolik did make her way onto the stat sheet with a single.
“St. Monica’s pitcher had a little more zip on her pitches [compared to the regular season], which fit right in with our girls facing Kamren and the pitching machine in practice,” Calvert said.
“Our hitters did their job.”
Though normal practice was rained out on Tuesday, the Lady Crusaders did get some extensive batting practice in at a local batting cage.
That should have them sharp for tonight’s 8:30 p.m. title game against St. Patrick at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Arlington. St. John won the regular-season meeting 2-1 in Ennis.
“We know St. Patrick will make us earn a victory,” Calvert said.
“Their pitcher is a general on the field and does a very good job. But if we really start hitting the ball, I think we’ll rattle her.”
Most of the players on this St. John team were part of the school’s DPL championship squads in 2005 and 2006. St. John lost in the semis last year to Parish Episcopal, which went on to beat St. Patrick in the title game. This will be St. Patrick’s third-straight DPL championship contest.
“I definitely see confidence among the girls that we can beat St. Patrick again,” Calvert said.
“The Dr. Pepper Ballpark has been our house when we’ve made it there. The girls are really playing well right now and I’m pretty ecstatic about it. I think they’ll carry their focus into this game.”
Considering most of the team is moving up to high school ball next year, Calvert is cherishing what might be his final run as head coach of a DPL squad.
“I really want to see us go out on top,” he said.
“It’s been an honor to be part of this squad because the girls do such a great job. I think this is the best team I’ve ever coached and I’ve really appreciated the help from David Lynch, Kelsey Lynch and Keith Bragg. Regardless of what happens in the championship, I’m really proud of how hard the girls have worked and they have bright futures ahead.”
If inclement weather forces tonight’s championship to be postponed, it will be played on Thursday at Dr. Pepper Ballpark.

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Posted by on May 28 2008. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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