Young Lady Tigers pumped up for upcoming season

2017 SOFTBALL PREVIEW


Junior Caily Knighton was a first-team all-district selection as a pitcher in 2016 and also led the Lady Tigers with 13 runs batted in. 
Reporter/Cliff Dungan Junior Caily Knighton was a first-team all-district selection as a pitcher in 2016 and also led the Lady Tigers with 13 runs batted in. Reporter/Cliff Dungan The Rockdale Lady Tigers just missed out on the state playoffs last season, so it’s a given that they are working to avoid the void in 2017.

“So far we’ve gotten off to a good start this season,” said second-year coach Erin Palmer. “The real challenges are still ahead of us though, as we travel to Liberty Hill for our first game and Taylor for a tournament, host McGregor in our own tournament while starting district play with Rogers.

Rockdale’s last playoff appearance came in 2014.

“Our district will be a challenge, but we fully expect to compete, Palmer said. “We lost quite a few seniors last year— all starters—but we have talented returners, newcomers, and underclassmen stepping up to claim those open positions.”

Academy, ranked No. 10, is the district favorite.

Some notable returners are senior Kaitlin Deary (1st team all-district, 2016 team MVP) and junior 1st team all-district pitcher Cailey Knighton (15-14).

“Both of these letterman players are already starting the year off right.” A top newcomer is senior Jordan Myers, a left handed power hitter.

The underclassmen that are rising to the top of the pack are sophomore pitcher/ outfielder Karley Leopold (.417) and sophomore infielder Macy Knesek.

“Both of these ladies have stepped up to the challenge of varsity play and will be huge assets at the plate for us this year,” Palmer said.

The Lady Tigers also added a third coach, Regan Fritsche, to help better build athletes skill set and allow them to work more on individualized drills.

“We are very excited to see what we can do as a unit.”

Opener

Despite outhitting Liberty Hill three to two, the Lady Tigers watched the Lady Panthers take the lead early, scoring off of a stolen base in the first inning, scoring three in the third, and one each in the fifth and one in the sixth for a innings.

Cailey Knighton took the loss for Rockdale, pitching six innings, surrendering six runs, two hits, and striking out five.

Macy Knesek, Lily Schweitzer, and Knighton all had one hit, in the top of the seventh, to produce Rockdale’s only runs of the game.

The Lady Tigers put up big numbers against Smithville last Friday in a scrimmage with seven hits and only one error as the Tigers rolled over Smithville in a 10-1, four inning scrimmage.

TIGER TRACKS—In 12 seasons playing at the softball complex, the Lady Tigers are 77-38 (.669 winning percentage).

LADY TIGER FILE

Coach—Erin Palmer (2nd year)

2016 record—15-14

2016 district—7-7, 5th

Playoffs—None

Last playoff appearance— 2014

Last district title—2013.

Key losses— Dako- ta Eubanks, Haley Perez, Julianna Juarez, Makayla Ramirez, Hanna Jiminez.

Key returnees—Sr. SS Kaitlyn Deary (.405, 1st team all- district, team MVP), Sr. OF Lily Schweitzer, Jr. P Cailey Knighton (15-14, .302, 13 RBI, 1st team all-district), Jr. UTIL Mariana Blackstock, So. UTIL/P Karley Leopold (.417), Sr. OF Lauryn Locklin (.275).

Key newcomers—Fr. C Payton Miller, So. UTIL Macy Knesek, So. INF Kyle Eubanks, Sr. OF Jordan Meyers, So. INF Autumn Montelongo.


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