For the third straight season, the Lake Dallas softball team was sent packing prior to the postseason.
The Lady Falcons went winless in the first season of District 8-5A play, following up a 4-10 performance in 14-5A a season ago with an 0-12 showing in the new league. Overall, the program went just 3-18-2, with all three victories coming on a single day when the Lady Falcons took down Naaman Forest, Sunset and Sunnyvale in consecutive efforts.
The team was outscored in league play, 157-19, though the conference slate wasn’t void of near-misses. The Lady Falcons lost to Denton Ryan, 6-4, in the first round of 8-5A play, then 10-4 to the same squad in the teams’ final district action.
Though the Lady Falcons’ effort didn’t meet the standards the team hoped for entering the 2019 campaign, head coach Amber Tramp said there were still positives to be found among the season-long stumble.
“Yes, our record did not meet the standards for playoffs,” she said. “However, a lesson we can take away from this season is to keep taking our greatest strengths up a notch and not letting the weaknesses get in the way of that.”
The Lady Falcons excelled in the classroom this season, Tramp said, marking the first time in program history that every member of the team was named to the academic all-district team. The program also earned one first-team all-district selection, two second-team selections and a pair of honorable mentions on the 8-5A list, which will be released when every member of the league has concluded its season.
Overall, Tramp said the largest strides were made by the team’s offense, which picked up the pace in the second leg of conference play.
“We definitely grew from the beginning of our season, mainly offensively,” she said. “Starting in the second round of district play, we began making adjustments and getting on base and cutting down our strikeouts, which allowed us to compete. We just struggled to put it all together on the same day.”
The Lady Falcons will benefit from the return of a large freshman class, headlined by standout Shelby Nelson, who anchored the program from behind the plate this season and hit .314 with eight RBIs and eight runs scored in her first year at the varsity level.
Tramp said that class, which also includes two-sport athlete Allie Buchanan, among others, will help lead the program both next season and beyond, as the departing class of 2020 will be a large one.
“Next season, I will graduate a large senior class, and my current freshman class will be responsible for creating a competitive culture that will challenge the incoming players,” she said. “These freshmen played a big part in this season’s team and will continue to contribute to the future success of Lake Dallas softball.”
In the immediate future, Lake Dallas will return that seven-member 2020 class for the second season of 8-5A play. Rising senior Aubrey Meyers, who has played an important role for the Lady Falcons over the last two seasons, will be back for her final tour in green and white.
In their effort to get the program back on track, the Lady Falcons should benefit from a year spent honing their mental toughness.
“We focused on things such as competing against ourselves, the mental strength to bounce back and learning to be comfortable with making adjustments so that we may learn to play to our strengths,” Tramp said. “My girls are motivated, and I believe in them. I need them to believe in themselves.”
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