Softball: Familiar start – Boyd hoping tough schedule pays off come district

By Reece Waddell | Published Wednesday, February 28, 2018
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Batter Up

BATTER UP – Boyd’s Kristin Rasbury is hitting .600 this season and is the team leader in hits and runs scored. Photo courtesy of Patty Scarbrough

There is a familiar feeling inside the Boyd Lady Jacket dugout.

Last season, Boyd lost 12 of its first 13 games. The Lady Jackets did not win their second game until March 10, starting the year 1-12.

Then they made it to the second round of the playoffs.

A year later, Boyd has started its 2018 campaign almost the same way. The Lady Jackets currently sit at 1-6 one week before the start of District 8-3A play and have played another tough slate of games to begin the year.

Boyd opened the season against Krum, the defending 4A state champion. They then played Hillsboro, Weatherford and Stephenville – all games they lost. Even though the Lady Jackets have dropped six games by a combined score of 68-19, Boyd coach Brandon Hopkins is hoping the experience of playing tough teams pays dividends once again come April.

“I’m not basing everything off wins and losses right now,” Hopkins said. “It’s about getting out here and competing and getting better. Last year, we played a touch schedule and it paid off in the end. I think it’s going to pay off for us again this year.

“I’m hoping they see the big picture. They can’t focus on one or two games here or there.”

Despite surrendering 72 runs through its first seven contests, Boyd’s bats have often kept them in games. The Lady Jackets are hitting .340 as a team and sport an OPS of .900.

Senior Kristin Rasbury leads the team in both hits (12) and runs scored (9). The Henderson State commit is slugging 1.050 to go along with a .600 average. She has belted six doubles and one home run.

“We’re hitting the ball well,” Hopkins said. “That’s one thing we’ve always been able to do. We’re going to put the ball in play. We’re not a fast, small-ball team. We’re looking to put the ball in the gap and over the fence.”

One of only two pitchers Boyd has used in the circle this year, Rasbury is also the team-leader in ERA with an earned run average of 7.56.

Pitching is not Rasbury’s natural position.

Ordinarily a shortstop, Rasbury and fellow senior Kristen Whatley are typically the only two pitchers at the Lady Jackets’ disposal. Rasbury has thrown 25 innings so far this season, giving up 49 runs off 53 hits. She’s walked 15 and struck out 26.

Whatley has picked up Boyd’s only win this season, but has an inflated ERA of 14.78.

Rasbury said although the Lady Jackets have gotten off to another rocky start, she is not getting discouraged.

“It’s really important to [not get caught up in wins and losses], especially with a younger team like this,” Rasbury said. “Our focus is mainly making sure everybody knows what’s going on in the game so we’re able to do better in district.”

Boyd’s de-facto ace, Hopkins said Rasbury’s pitching will be pivotal when district play begins.

“She’s going to be called upon to throw strikes and hit her spots,” Hopkins said. “When they put it in play, we’ll play good defense behind her. She has four or five different pitches that all have different wrinkles in them, but her best pitch is probably her screwball or drop curve.”

Boyd’s game scheduled for Tuesday against Alvord was rained out. The Lady Jackets will compete in the Denton Tournament this weekend before opening district play Tuesday at Henrietta.

“There’s no letup in this district,” Hopkins said. “There’s seven teams that could all win a district title, and there’s going to be three or four teams that are pretty unhappy at the end because they didn’t get in [to the playoffs].”

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