LYFORD — The Lyford Lady Bulldogs’ historic season remains one of the better feel-good stories of the softball season.
Lyford is 34-0 and will square off against Santa Gertrudis Academy in a best-of-three series in the Class 3A regional quarterfinals.
Behind the Lady Bulldogs’ attack has been the steady play of their freshman class. Haley Pena, Mikeala Lopez, Alyssa Garcia and Tiffani Alaniz have checked in a solid showing this postseason.
The two shined in their playoff debuts against Corpus Christi London during the bi-district round. Against London, Pena went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, and Lopez went 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs.
“It hit me that I was on the varsity when we played our first playoff game,” Pena said. “It was scary and nerve-wracking that first inning, but once we got things going we knew we would be OK, and now that we have playoff games under our belts we feel confident.”
Against Mathis, the young duo that bats at the top of the order — Pena bats second and Lopez bats cleanup — had another strong showing. Pena and Lopez collected three hits each. Lopez drove in a team-high four runs, and Pena drove in two.
“Having Jerrica bat in front of me motivates me to do well,” Lopez said. “She will back me up, and it is great to be a part of a lineup that picks each other up.”
Lopez is batting .568 this season with 60 RBIs, 16 doubles and 51 hits. Pena, meanwhile, is slashing .532 with 42 hits, 35 RBIs, four triples and 50 runs scored.
The freshman duo, which is born and raised in Lyford, has played softball all its lives. In fact, two years ago it witnessed the Lyford-Santa Gertrudis series.
Two years later, the two are now on the team and have an opportunity to take on the defending state champions.
“Coming into the playoffs it was nerve-wracking, but like Haley said, after that first inning we are able to shake off the nerves,” Lopez said. “We feel we have the pieces in play and have put it all together. When we went up there to watch the series we found it interesting, knowing that one day we might be there playing against them, and here we are. We have a chance to show them what we can do.”