Lady Bears to battle for district softball title
Last updated 2/19/2023 at 7:44pm
One of the most consistent athletic programs in any sport in southeast Texas is softball at Little Cypress Mauriceville. The Lady Bears were second in their district last year and are expected to compete for a district championship again this season.
Coach Dena Adkins graded last season as a B plus or an A minus for Little Cypress Mauriceville, but was a little disappointed in the early exit for her Lady Bears from last year's state playoffs. "I thought we did pretty well last year. I still would have liked to win first place, we always strive to do that. In the playoffs we had a tough adversary in Huffman and just could not get past them, but the Lady Bears did well and did what I asked them to do," Adkins reminded.
The great thing about the LCM Lady Bears in softball is they really just have to reload each new season with all of the talent Coach Adkins has available. One of the girls is a three-year returning member on the varsity senior Ansley Moore. She will hold down first base for the Lady Bears again.
Another three-year returning regular on the LCM varsity is Ava Wright a junior who plays outfield for the Lady Bears. Jacelyn Cook is also a junior who was the starting shortstop last season but will be counted on to be in the circle and pitch more this year. A third junior is Rhylan Wilson with varsity experience.
Three sophomores started or played key roles as freshmen and should be leaders this season for Little Cypress Mauriceville. Lexis Moss, Jillian Brown, and Ella Stephenson will all be major contributors for the Lady Bears.
Stephenson will be seeing some time in the circle this year. Moss is an infielder who could see some time behind the plate catching along with Brown.
Coming back to the Lady Bears' softball team after being a standout for the LCM girls in the recent basketball season is Keylie Washburn. She is only a sophomore, will play third base, and is expected to be force with her bat.
Coach Adkins is happy to have another Frenzel she gets to coach. Eden Frenzel is only a freshman but has skills like her older siblings following in the footsteps of her sisters Brianna and Bailey who were such great players for the Lady Bears. Adkins shared her thoughts about Frenzel. "Right now Eden is my leadoff hitter, and she has not let me down. She's been putting the bat on the ball hitting three triples in four at bats. She's got speed, and she's got power."
Another freshman expected to see a lot of time is Asia Woodson in different positions especially in the outfield. Woodson is very fast and has a great arm.
Two freshmen that will be splitting time between the varsity and junior varsity are Abi Sepulvado and Tessa Erickson. Sepulvado and Erickson both pitch which is why they will see some time with the varsity this year.
Early in the season through scrimmages and a few games Adkins is impressed with the way Ava Wright is swinging the bat. Wright came off an injury last season and Adkins thinks Ava has healed up one hundred percent and is looking good.
Also hitting the ball hard early is Lexis Moss. She swings the bat with some authority. Eden Frenzel is a true leadoff batter hitting from the left side, a slapper with power, speed on the bases, she has it all according to Adkins.
Not to be overlooked with Lady Bears basketball coming to an end in the last week is Keylie Washburn. Adkins advised, "Now that we're getting Keylie back fulltime she's going to be lights out. She swings the bat pretty well, but I can tell she needs a few more plate appearances."
The Lady Bears should be tough outs from top to bottom of the lineup. "I think one through nine my batting order is going to be pretty tough. I'm going to have some hitters at the bottom, and some hitters in the middle, and some hitters at the top," Adkins described.
A hole that Little Cypress Mauriceville needs to fill is in the circle. Graduation took the Lady Bears' primary pitcher Cami Shugart from last year but there are some girls who can step up. Jacelyn Cook is the first having been a backup when Shugart injured her side last season.
Cook has pitched well in early games and had good movement on the ball. Ella Stephenson has really improved from last year according to Adkins. Stephenson is putting a good spin on her pitches with good control and showing a little increase in speed as well.
Abi Sepulvado and Tessa Erickson are the two freshmen who will step in and see some time in the circle. Adkins wants to use Sepulvado and Erickson to give opposing hitters a different look from either Cook or Stephenson. Adkins suggested, "With them I can give a different look for batters, different speed, different spin. I can go kind of deep in the pitching position."
Not taking anything for granted Adkins anticipates the Little Cypress Mauriceville Lady Bears will compete for the district title. That said the Lady Bears' district is one of the toughest in Class 4A in the state.
The competition for Little Cypress Mauriceville will start just down Highway 87 at Bridge City with the Lady Cardinals and their outstanding pitcher Carson Fall. "We have 24 games before we see her and the Lady Cardinals. So, hopefully these Lady Bears will learn how to play together, we'll work to fix our weaknesses, we'll see some good pitching on the road, and hopefully that will prepare us for when we do step on the field with Bridge City. I love this team. I've told them since day one I really like their chemistry and how well they work together. There's just a good feel about these kids. You ask them to do something and they try their hardest to do it with no complaints they just keep working, Adkins concluded.
The Little Cypress Mauriceville Lady Bears were co-host of the Southeast Texas Kick-off Classic played at the two campuses of Orangefield and Little Cypress Mauriceville High Schools on February 16-18. The Lady Bears won all five games they played in the tournament.
Rain fell for part of the first day. LCM overcame the weather and the Evadale Lady Rebels who scored two first inning runs to take an early lead before the Lady Bears rallied for a 10-2 win. Lexis Moss had a two-run double in the first and cleared the centerfield fence with a two-run homerun in the second. Jacelyn Cook recovered from her first inning to pitch a good game for the Lady Bears.
Little Cypress Mauriceville won its second game 3-0 over Hamshire-Fannett. Ella Stephenson was the hero pitching a shutout.
On day two the Lady Bears rolled over Beaumont United and Deweyville. The first game was 15-3 with Stephenson the winning pitcher and Ava White joining Moss to provide the big hits for Little Cypress Mauriceville.
The second game on Friday saw Tessa Erickson pitch a shutout for the Lady Bears as they won 10-0. Cook and Ansley Moore both had two hits.
LCM beat Hardin-Jefferson 5-1 in its only game on Saturday. Stephenson pitched three innings to earn the win and Erickson threw one shutout inning. Eden Frenzel was the hitting star with three hits including a triple and three runs scored. The Little Cypress Mauriceville Lady Bears were 5-1 on the season at the conclusion of the tournament.