The El Campo Ladybirds (9-2) open up District 24 play this week.
Last year due to COVID-19 the Ladybirds did not finish district play, but they started it with a bang scoring 35 runs in their first two games.
A season later, the Ladybirds are still a young team with only three seniors and a lot of juniors and sophomores.
This year in district play the Ladybirds won’t see Sweeny, Needville or Fulshear like in years past. El Campo’s move to Region 3 gives them a new set of district foes. The Ladybirds this season will play Wharton, Brookshire Royal, Sealy, Navasota and Bellville.
Through the preseason, Navasota is 7-10, Bellville is 4-9, Sealy is 5-10, Wharton is 3-7 and Brookshire Royal is 0-2.
“It’s a new district, so it’s kind of going into the unknown,” Ladybirds coach Roxanne Cavazos said. “One thing I know is, as a team, we’ve got to stay disciplined and make the routine plays and play our game.”
The Ladybirds are an athletic team. In the infield, nearly every player can play all positions. At practice Monday, El Campo went through fielding and base running drills while the infield rotated through different spots getting fielding work at various positions.
El Campo has the bats to compete with just about anyone. The Ladybirds this season have scored at least nine runs in five of their nine games.
The Ladybirds offense is led by sophomore Kate Bubela who is batting over .400 with five home runs and 21 RBIs in nine games. However, it’s just not Bubela getting on base. Overall the Ladybirds are hitting .337 and reaching base nearly 40 percent of the time.
All three of the Ladybirds seniors, Allyson Rioux and Madisyn Matlock and Mackenzie Matlock are batting over .300. Mackenzie leads the Ladybirds with 17 runs scored.
“When we’re hitting as a team it’s great. When we’re not hitting as a team, and we’ve seen that in the preseason, it’s not pretty,” Cavazos said. “Going into district we’re going to have to pick each other up. If one person is struggling in an at-bat, whoever is behind them is going to have to pick them up and let the contagious hitting follow.”
The Ladybirds have used three different pitchers this season with sophomore Bridget Dorotik and Mackenzie Matlock picking up the most innings. The pitching staff as a whole has a 3.42 ERA in the nine games played.
“From the games we didn’t win in the preseason, to the games we played in Victoria against 5A schools, we’ve grown a lot as a pitching staff,” Cavazos said. “We have a better understanding about where we need to put the ball, especially against good hitting teams and they’re hitting spots more.”
El Campo will go into district play coming off a week in which they did not play any games. Although the varsity scrimmaged junior varsity every day. The scrimmages amongst themselves were as valuable as any games they might have been able to play, Cavazos said.
“We threw seven-inning games all week every day so it felt like we were playing all week,” Cavazos said. “I think it benefited and we got more game-like repetitions going into district.”
Friday night the Ladybirds will play the Wharton Lady Tigers at Legacy Field at 6 p.m.