Lady Eagles will rely on five seniors to guide the season
The team will start District 27A play on Friday as they host Mumford.
Tuesday, the Lady Eagles (5-4) travel to Holland where they committed five errors in windy conditions to fall 11-7.
Kiersten Bastow took the loss for Milano, fanning three batters and walking just one. Hayleigh Lagrone went 2-for- 3 at the plate, with two runs batted in. Samantha Waldrep was also 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Milano was suppose to compete in the Burton tournament over the weekend, but due to the Eagles boys basketball team reaching the regional tournament and head softball coach John Hughes being an assistant coach on the hoops squad, the Lady Eagle played just two games on Thursday, going 1-1 at the tournament.
They opened up the day losing a 7- 6 decision to LaGrange’s JV team. Things looked like they’d go Milano’s way as Stonie Guthrie hit a solo shot over the fence, but that wouldn’t be the case. The Lady Eagles committed three errors and left four runners on base in the loss.
Kiersten Bastow absorbed the loss, fanning three batters and giving up eight hits.
Guthrie was 3-of-3 at the plate, scoring three runs and a stolen base. Emily Overall was 2-of-3 with a double.
Later in the day, Milano came from behind to win 8-7 over Bryan-St. Joseph. Down 7-2 in the top of the fourth, Milano found its groove and put up six unanswered points in the next three frames to gain the win.
At the plate, the Lady Eagles were led by Bastow and Hayleigh Lagrone who each went 3-of-4, with Bastow smacking a double. Samantha Waldrep was 2-of-3 and Guthrie went 2-of-4 with a double.
Bastow also got things done on the mound, tossing the win. She down six batters and walked just three.
“As a whole our team speed is better and our batting is much better than it was at this point last year and six girls are hitting .300 or better,” Hughes said.
The squad returns five starters and eight letterman off last season’s 7-13-2 team. The group finished fourth in the final district standings at 3-7.
Hughes will depend largely on the experience of his five seniors: pitcher Bastow, Lagrone (left field), Guthrie (center field), Raighley Shaw (first base) and Waldrep (third base/right field).
Lagronewasafirstteam all- district and second team All-Brazos Valley pick last season with Guthrie and Shaw earning second team all district nods. Bastow was a honorable mention all-district selection at her position.
Overall, a junior and all-district first team catcher last season, will be behind the plate again this year and fellow junior Kelly Wadlington will handle the designated player duties and play in the outfield.
Newcomers to the team include junior Sarah Pedroza who plays second base and a slough of freshmen. Keely Lagrone and Alejandra Ruelas will split time at both short stop and second base. Dakota Steinbecker will the other ace on the mound for Milano.
Fellow freshmen Ramona Castaneda and Tera Arledge will play in the outfield and serve as courtesy runners.
Lost to graduation were right fielder Brittany Barnett, second baseman Elizabeth Bradshaw and short stop Lyndsie Gray. B arnett w as a fi rst t eam all-district selection, Bradshaw a second team pick and Gray honorable mention.
Milano missed out on the playoffs by one spot last season, but may have a better chance with a new district this year after the UIL’s biennial realignment last spring.
“Our district this year has change from last year, we are in with Somerville, Burton, Snook and Mumford while Holland, Thrall, Bartlett and Granger moved into a district with Thorndale,” Hughes said. “Both Burton (area finalist last year) and Somerville (regional quarterfinalist last year) return some good solid players and will compete for one of the three playoff spots.
“Snook and Mumford will be better than they were last year and could surprise some people this year. We should be in the mix as well for one of those playoff spot, but you never know until you play the games.”
The Lady Eagles host the Lady Mustangs on Friday in between Thursday and Saturday appearances at the Thorndale tournament. After a small break, Milano will host Burton on Friday, March 15.