Every game for Sherman’s young softball team this spring is a lesson in how to close out strong varsity opponents. The late innings have been a bumpy ride so far.

Every game for Sherman’s young softball team this spring is a lesson in how to close out strong varsity opponents. The late innings have been a bumpy ride so far.


The Lady Bearcats battled Lovejoy to almost-even terms through four innings and were a strike away from making it five frames on Monday night. But the Lady Leopards erupted for 16 combined runs in the fifth and sixth to hand the Lady Cats a 17-0 loss, keeping them winless in District 13-4A play at Old Settlers Park.


The continuing school of hard knocks leaves Sherman (5-14, 0-5) still only 2 1/2 games out of fourth place in the district standings, but with losses to five of the six teams ahead of them.


Lovejoy (11-8-1, 4-1) nosed a half-game ahead of Denison into second place in the standings, pending the Lady Yellow Jackets’ home showdown with first-place Wylie tonight.


The Lady Cats managed one hit off Lovejoy pitcher Danielle Brochu, a leadoff single to right by Janette McCallister in the fifth inning. McCallister also had a hard-hit ball in the second inning that was right at Brochu in the pitcher’s circle.


The only other Lady Cat base runner was Asia Pratt, who walked in the home half of the third and stole two bases, but was stranded 60 feet from the plate.


Sherman’s Sara Flores was solid in the circle through the first four innings, holding Lovejoy to one run on four hits to that point. Despite rapidly tiring, Flores got two outs and had two strikes on Lovejoy’s Amanda Conner before Conner hit a seeing-eye single between first and second base to drive in two runs.


From there, the floodgates opened. Lovejoy finished with six runs in the inning on five hits and four walks, and the Lady Leopards sent 13 batters to the plate in the top of the sixth and scored 10 more off Flores and Pratt in relief.


Lovejoy finished with 18 hits total, including seven doubles — three by Jadyn Willis and two by Autumn Keefer.


Sherman committed only one error, on a misjudged fly ball to right late in Lovejoy’s 10-run sixth.


Through four innings, the game was a duel between Flores and Brochu. Flores retired the side in order in the second inning and was helped by strong defense, including plays by two freshmen: a stab of a sinking soft liner by a tumbling Natalie Carrasco at second base, and a throwout by catcher Kaylee Walker on a steal attempt at second in the fifth while the game was still in the balance.


The Lady Leopards finally scratched out a run in the top of the third. Keefer doubled off the glove of Pratt, who ran a long way into the left-center gap to get to the ball and almost came up with a sparkling play. Keefer went to third on a bunt and came home on a slow comebacker to Flores to make it 1-0.


Brochu finished with nine strikeouts for the Lady Leopards, with only the one hit and one walk allowed.


The Lady Cats will travel to Wylie on Friday before closing out the first half of the district schedule a week from today at home against Greenville.