While the statistics and last season’s hardware indicate otherwise, Madilyn Weatherly can’t help but feel that she’s become a forgotten face for the Temple College Lady Leopards. On a team that prides itself on scoring at any point in the lineup, Weatherly sometimes feels lost among the strong bats on TC’s roster.
And while the reigning Northern Texas Junior College Athletic Conference player of the year had just one hit in Friday’s doubleheader with Grayson, it was a big one.
After falling 12-4 in a five-inning opener, TC battled back from a 4-0 deficit and Weatherly hit a walk-off, two-run home run in the 10th to give the Lady Leopards a 6-4 win and a split.
“I used to worry about proving myself at the beginning of the season. After winning player of the year, I wanted to prove that I deserved it,” said Weatherly, who leads TC with 10 home runs and 53 RBIs. “I’m not shooting for another player of the year award. I just want to be known as a player that’s really hard to get out.”
Carmen Eilersten’s three-run homer in the second and a sacrifice fly in the third gave Grayson (19-18, 11-13) a 4-0 lead in the finale.
Tiler Noyola scored from third base on a ground out by Weatherly in the sixth for Temple (33-9, 17-5) to make it 4-1, and Noyola drove in Lenzi Stewart with a base hit to inch TC closer in the seventh.
With runners at second and third with two outs later in the inning, Daisy Gonzalez tied the game with a two-run double, forcing extra innings after Weatherly grounded out to end the frame.
Weatherly came through in her next at-bat, fouling off several pitches before keeping one in play that landed over the wall in left field.
“My mindset was trying to get the ball into the outfield so we could move Daisy over,” Weatherly said. “I wasn’t planning on hitting it over.”
Gonzalez finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a double in Game 2 after going 1-for-2 with a home run in the opener. Noyola went 3-for-4 with an RBI, and Stewart reached on a pair of singles in the second game.
Breanna Hernandez went the distance for TC. She tossed 10 innings and allowed four runs on eight hits with six strikeouts and three walks for her 15th win of the season.
The victory in Game 2 was needed for the Lady Leopards following a dismal overall performance to begin the day. Marley Hilton struggled in the circle, and the offense wasn’t much better. TC mustered just one hit through the opening three innings before Parker and Gonzalez hit consecutive home runs in the fourth to get Temple within 10-2, and an error by the Grayson shortstop allowed two runs to score in the fifth for an 11-4 Lady Leopards deficit.
Hilton lasted 1 2/3 innings and gave up six runs on two hits while walking four and striking out two. She re-entered the game in the fifth and recorded a pair of strikeouts.
Ivelisse Moreno worked most of the middle innings in relief. She threw 2 2/3 innings and allowed six runs on seven hits with three walks and a strikeout.
Grayson (19-18, 11-13) scored eight runs in the second inning. Hilton walked two batters and hit another — all with the bases loaded — before Moreno entered the game and walked in a run before serving up a grand slam to Cheyenne Stark, who went 5-for-9 on the day with three doubles and five RBIs.
Lauren Mentzer allowed four runs on four hits in five innings and struck out three for Grayson in the opener. Angelia Va’a threw nine innings and was tagged with six runs, 12 hits, four strikeouts and a walk in Game 2.
“Grayson is a really good team and shouldn’t be taken lightly,” Hernandez said. “Every day we hear from our coaches that teams are gunning for us. Today was a good reminder of that.”