Weatherford — Undefeated district champions, automatic bi-district champions and now area champions, the Italy Lady Gladiators gave no chance and left no doubt against the Gorman Lady Panthers by winning the first two games, of a best two-out-of-three to cinch right of passage into the regional quarterfinal round.
Italy’s fan base was energetic and supportive on Friday and the Lady Gladiators responded by winning the second game, 16-4, an even larger margin than their first game win of 11-1. Italy was a 2A regional quarter finalist last season loosing to the eventual state champions, the Crawford Lady Pirates. With that experience, however, Italy brings a lot to the table when facing 1A foes this season especially with sophomore picture Jaclynn Lewis at the controls who saw plenty of playoff action back in 2012 as a freshman.
Seniors Alyssa Richards, Katie Byers and junior Paige Westbrook are also hold overs from last season’s team as are current sophomores Madison Washington, Bailey Eubank, Tara Wallis and Kelsey Nelson. Senior Morgan Cockerham rejoined the squad this season giving Italy a total of eight veteran players with a majority of them having playoff experience against the bigger 2A competition. Sophomore K’Breona Davis retuned to Italy this season, as well, and has really helped to upgrade the effectiveness of Italy’s base running. Sophomore Hannah Washington has been an effective pinch hitter and even made an appearance on the mound in the district finale.
Also impressive, has been the play and effort and willingness of Italy’s freshman players who have been major contributors in the team’s success. Often serving as pinch runners and pinch hitters and doing those things well, they have also been used in the outfield and in the infield on occasion by head coach Wayne Rowe. It has been valuable training for Britney Chambers (Who has had several starts this season including the opening game against Gorman), Lillie Perry, Ashlyn Jacinto and Cassidy Childers. Whenever they are needed, they have been ready and have performed at a high level the Lady Gladiators.
Included are additional images of Italy’s area championship win over Gorman.