March 11, 2024

Tavares High School Girls Softball Win First Game Of Season

2.8 min read| Published On: March 11th, 2024|

By Kyle Coppola

Tavares High School Girls Softball Win First Game Of Season

2.8 min read| Published On: March 11th, 2024|

The Tavares High School girls’ softball team picked up their first win of the season with a 9-3 victory against Mount Dora High School earlier this week. The Lady Bulldogs had a rough start to the season with a 0-3 record, but they came together as a team and are beginning to score runs this year, something they had trouble doing in the first three games.

Tavares is facing some stiff competition to begin the year, with Umatilla, Lake Minneola, and The Villages on the schedule. Those games provided a big challenge for Tavares, and they embrace that challenge. “Losing is not fun, but I am proud of the girls’ program. They have a difficult schedule, but we embrace that kind of schedule,” says athletic director Tracey Hanson.

(Jasmine Lawrence #2 leads the team in steals and RBIs. She has also scored 5 runs for the Lady Bulldogs.)

The Lady Bulldogs have been led by the bat of Jasmine Lawrence, who has 7 hits so far this season, and Emma Pattee is also having an impact. Pattee is batting .400 average to start the year. She has driven in 5 runs, which leads the team. Lawrence and Pattee have both scored a team-high 5 runs so far for the Lady Bulldogs.

On the mound, junior Emersyn Lee has been called upon a lot this year. She has pitched 23.2 innings this season. She has struck out 33 batters this season, which is impressive. Considering she has faced 100 batters, those are respectable numbers. She has a 3.55 ERA, but considering the competition she has faced, Lee has been doing the best she can to keep Tavares High in games. She has certainly done that to the best of her abilities at the beginning of this season.

(Emma Pattee #10 has done a great job at getting into scoring position this year. She has a 4.0 GPA.)

“Emmy has done a lot for us this season; They are doing they can to be smart with her pitch count. I do have to say that Emersyn Lee, Jasmine Lawrence, and Emma Pattee all have 4.0 GPA’s. I am very proud of their play on the field as much as their contributions off the field. Very smart kids with great heads on their shoulders,” says Tavares Athletic Director Tracey Hanson.

(Bailey Rasmussen is the sister of Dallas Rasmussen who is one of the best baseball pitchers in Lake County. She is a sophomore and has shown plenty of promise this season.)

Other players who have had an impact are juniors Olivia Padilla and Aliyah Cantu-Lopez, who have contributed in the field and batting this season. While depth is an issue on the Tavares High roster, they are playing competitive softball. The 9-3 win against Mount Dora and a 12-6 loss against South Lake means the girls are scoring runs. They also had a close 5-2 loss against Lake Minneola a few weeks ago.

(Aliyah Cantu-Lopez takes a swing during a recent game. She’s been a solid batter for Tavares.)

The team has some winnable games against Mount Dora, First Academy-Leesburg, and Foundation Academy coming up. They also play Lake Minneola and South Lake again, two games that Tavares played competitive softball against so there is a potential for this team to catch fire after spring break.

Head coach Valarie Neu, along with assistant coach Windy Leonard, are doing a good job of trying to keep Tavares competitive. They play in the often difficult Class 4A District 7 with teams such as Eustis, Vanguard, North Marion, and Lake Weir. Eustis High, in particular, has been a softball giant in Lake County the past decade, including this season.

(Olivia Pattee #8 lays down a bunt.)

As the season progresses, it will be interesting to see how the Tavares Bulldogs come together down the stretch. There is still a long way to go. Now that they have the first win out of the way, the Lady Bulldogs will look to win some more games in the coming weeks.

Photo Credit – Tavares High School

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About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

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