The Little Elm softball team enjoyed quite the turnaround this season.
One year after the Lady Lobos went 4-16, Little Elm, under the direction of first-year head coach Brent Achorn, finished 13-13 and was a bi-district finalist.
That dramatic turnaround didn’t go unnoticed.
Coaches in District 5-6A recently held a meeting to cast their votes for the all-district team. After all of the ballots were counted, Little Elm earned a total of nine selections.
Senior catcher Georgia Heathcock, junior third baseman Cadence Hernandez and sophomore left fielder Maria Florentino all landed on the first team.
Heathcock, the only senior on the team, had a huge resurgence at the plate. As a junior, she hit .241. This year, the University of California at San Diego signee recorded a .480 batting average with five home runs and 36 hits. Defensively, Heathcock was a wall, committing just three errors on 160 chances for a .981 fielding percentage.
Hernandez, meanwhile, provided a feel-good story after missing all of her sophomore year due to a medical issue. Like Heathcock, she was a great source of offense. Hernandez hit .420 with five home runs and 34 hits. Defensively, she had just four errors playing the hot corner.
After splitting pitching duties with sophomore first baseman Katie Mince last year, Florentino played primarily in the outfielder this year. Florentino hit .294 and fielded at a .935 clip. In the Lady Lobos’ bi-district playoff against Hebron, she drove in four of Little Elm’s seven runs.
Mince was one of three Lady Lobos to crack the all-district second team. She was solid both on offense and defense, having committed just one error all season, while hitting .416 – one of five Little Elm players to hit over .400.
Freshman pitcher Jadyn Struxness and junior outfielder Krysten Moran were also named to the second team.
One of three pitchers to take the mound for Little Elm this season, Struxness was eventually elevated to the No. 1 role. She recorded 81 strikeouts and went 8-7. Offensively, Struxness posted a .281 batting average and drove in 11 runs.
Moran was named to the all-district team for the second year in a row. She led Little Elm with a .484 batting average and drove in 28 runs. Defensively, Moran committed just three errors.
Garnering honorable mentions on the all-district team for Little Elm are sophomore right fielder Meadow Doyle, junior second baseman D’Kota Gibbs and sophomore shortstop Kearstin Tinsley.
Doyle batted .313 with 20 hits and nine RBIs, and defensively, committed one error. Gibbs posted a .250 batting average with two triples and had eight RBIs. Tinsley provided a spark at the top of the batting order. She hit .442, struck out just five times all season and had a team-best 21 stolen bases.
Little Elm also got the job done in the classroom. Doyle, Florentino, Heathcock, Hernandez, Moran, Struxness and Ava Mueller were all named to the all-district academic team.
Allen senior Sami Hood was named the district’s most valuable player. She broke the Dallas-area record for most home runs in a season when she hit her 20th round-tripper of the year in Allen’s second-round series-clinching win over Irving Nimitz.