Softball: Lady Cats to begin defense of state title

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Pilot Point is not concerned with looking back at what it accomplished last season.

Whenever the weather permits the Lady Cats to step onto the field, memories of last season’s Class 2A state championship will be exactly that — memories.

Pilot Point begins its defense of the 2A crown at 7 tonight against visiting Frisco Lone Star. The team’s motto warns of the perils of looking back on last year’s remarkable run, and head coach James Ramsey said the team understands what will be needed this season.

“Last year is last year, and it’s great, but it’s a new season now,” Ramsey said. “Nothing’s going to be given to us this year because of last year. We know we got a lot of work to do.”

Behind the efforts of senior pitcher Skylar Cagle, the Lady Cats went 40-2-1 in 2013 and defeated Kingsville Santa Gertrudis Academy for the school’s first softball state title.

Cagle finished the year with a spotless 28-0 record before she graduated and left for Northwestern State in Natchitoches, La.

The Lady Cats didn’t need to look far to find a suitable replacement. Junior Preslee Gallaway, who orally committed to Louisiana Tech as a sophomore, will take over for Cagle.

Gallaway also batted .457 last season, had a .530 on-base percentage, hit eight home runs and had 52 RBIs. In the pitching circle, Gallaway was 12-2 with a 2.55 ERA, 126 strikeouts and 24 walks.

“Preslee would have probably started for 90 percent of the teams we played last year as a pitcher, but we just happened to have Skylar Cagle,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey said Gallaway will be slotted third in the batting order, Cagle’s old spot, and the squad is still looking for Gallaway to improve.

Ramsey said Gallaway will be able to draw on last year’s experiences for this year’s campaign.

“She did a lot of really good things for us last year, and this year she knows we’re going to probably be leaning on her a little bit more,” Ramsey said. “Just being what we went through, she knows what to expect.”

Along with Gallaway, the Lady Cats return key pieces from last year’s team like senior Allison Strittmatter, junior outfielder Natalie Larson and junior catcher Xena Barbour. Gallaway said the team looks forward to the opportunity to defend its title.

“As a team, we’re very excited,” Gallaway said. “We’re ready to go out and play. We just want to do the best that we can do this year, one game at a time, one pitch at a time. To be able to make a run for it, that’s amazing. We just gotta play our ball.”

Ramsey said his team understands that it will get everybody’s best game each night, as everybody will be gunning to knock off the defending 2A state champions. The Lady Cats will be looking for many different players to produce in different spots and attempt to make another deep playoff run.

“We’ve got a bunch of good kids that can play some ball,” Ramsey said. “We got some returners that we’re expecting big things from, and some young kids coming up. It’s going to take awhile for it all to fall into place, but we’re excited about the group that we have.”

BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.


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