Lady Bulldogs split season home openers

Mark DeLap
Posted 3/29/23

Season opener for Lady Bulldogs

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Lady Bulldogs split season home openers


WHEATLAND - The Wheatland Lady Bulldog Softball Team has been busy getting ready for their third upcoming season.

The team remains in the east conference which also consists of Campbell County Thunder Basin, Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne East, Cheyenne South and Laramie. Wheatland by far is the smallest of all the schools in the conference which dominated at the state tournament last year.

The Lady Bulldogs are coached by Jodie Fitzwater, Brian Boaz, and Jake Montoya this year.

“This year we are excited to have most of the players returning as we only graduated four seniors last year,” Jodie Fitzwater, Lady Bulldog head coach said. “We have eight new players joining the team. The players bring a wide range of skills, positional play and experiences with them which will make the team more diverse and competitive this year. We are anticipating more wins and a stronger season finish with a goal of making it to state this year.”

The team will field both a junior varsity and a Varsity team this year. Most JV games will be played on Mondays and Tuesdays while most Varsity games will be played on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The Lady Bulldogs hosted their first home Varsity games Thursday, March 23, at 3 p.m. against Cheyenne South at Lewis Park and followed up with another home game Friday, March 24, at 4 p.m. against Laramie.

The Wheatland Lady Bulldogs were able to start their season off last week with a handful of games during spring break, while many teams around the state found themselves rescheduling games due to weather. The Bulldog Softball Teams were able to get all 6 games in at their home location. On Tuesday, March 21, the junior varsity kicked off the action with two wins against the Laramie Plainsmen junior varsity team. In the first game the Lady Bulldogs JV came out ready to play both offensively and defensively and won with a final score of 8 to 6. Tatum Struble made her high school debut at the mound and pitched the whole game which lasted three innings with only four earned runs and seven strikeouts.

Cheyenne Warren and Karley Adams led the team with two hits each and Adams led with two RBI’s. In the second game, the Wheatland JV Bulldogs had all cylinders firing on offense winning big over Laramie JV with a score of 14-2.

Delaney Aurich was on the mound for the Bulldogs. She went four innings, allowing only two runs on four hits, striking out seven and walking none. Offensively, the Bulldogs racked up 12 hits in the game. Lola Philo and Kierstyn Coller each had multiple hits for the Bulldogs. Philo led the team by going 3-for-4 and Tatum Struble hit her first homer of the season.

On Thursday, March 23, the Lady Bulldog Varsity team started their season off with a double header against the Cheyenne South Bison Varsity team. During the first game, the Varsity Bulldogs coasted to an easy victory over South 11-1. The Bulldogs got things started in the first inning with Aurich stealing home plate for the first run. The Bulldogs totaled seven hits with Mackenzie Lockman,  Adams, and Rylee Coates who led the team with two hits each.

The Bulldogs were sure-handed in the field and did not commit a single error. Additionally, they had six stolen bases. Lockman led things off in the circle for the Bulldogs, allowing only two hits and one run over five innings, while striking out 12. During the second game, the Lady Bulldogs pulled ahead early with 13 runs in the first inning and seven runs in the second inning and took the win with a final score of 20-0.

Lockman hit her first homerun of the season and had three RBI’s for the game. Adams led the team with four RBI’s. On the mound for the Lady Bulldogs was Adams, who pitched three innings, allowed zero runs, struck out five and only allowed four base on balls. The Bulldogs again finished the game with a very strong defensive presence with no errors.

To finish the week out, the Lady Bulldogs Varsity team played the Laramie Plainsmen Varsity in another double header at Lewis Park. During the first game, the Bulldogs were able to take an early lead in the first inning by scoring two runs against Laramie. During the first three innings, the game was tight with the score being deadlocked at two runs apiece. However, in the fourth inning the Plainsmen were able to get a rally going and scored six runs to take the lead.

The Lady Bulldogs never gave up and continued to hit the ball consistently. In the sixth inning the Bulldogs had another rally scoring five runs, but fell short to the Plainsmen in the seven-inning game losing 15-10.

The Lady Bulldogs had a great offensive output with 10 hits but did not have the best defensive outing and their errors lost them the game. Coates led the team offensively with three hits in four at bats and she had four RBI’s. Coates also saw her first homerun of the season during the fourth inning.

Lockman led things off on the mound for the Bulldogs, allowing 13 hits and 12 runs over five innings. She struck out six and didn’t walk a single batter. Adams came in to finish off the game for the last two innings.

During the second game of the double header, the Bulldogs fell behind early and could not come back in an 18-2 loss against the Plainsmen. Aurich and Adams each managed one hit each to lead the Bulldogs.

“After this first week was over, the team had a lot of accomplishments to be proud of as well as a short list of items that needs to be worked on,” Fitzwater said. “The team has the talent and capability of winning more games throughout the season as long as they keep learning from each outing and pushing themselves to be better players as well as a team.”