The Midlothian Heritage softball team continued its record-making season and celebrated its three seniors in fine fashion Friday evening.
Tatum Pilkington, Rachel Richard and Alexa Perez comprise the first class of four-year program student-athletes. They also help fill leadership roles on a Jaguars ball club that is — following a 15-0 victory against Ferris on the Jaguars senior night — one win shy of clinching a 4A postseason berth.
The Jaguars are currently 9-11 on the season and 4-3 in District 17-4A play. Heritage is two games up on fifth-place Ferris with three regular season games to play, meaning a win or Lady Yellow Jackets loss will put the Jaguars into the postseason.
Venus is currently atop the district with a 7-0 mark, while Alvarado is second at 6-1.
So about these seniors...
Following the district win this past Friday, Heritage head softball coach Lindsay Fallen noted all three are "really good leaders" for the underclassmen.
"I love our three seniors and I've had them for four years now so they are my first four-year class. Their leadership is what has been missing in the past," Fallen said. "[...] I am so proud of this team this year. This is the best record we have ever had and, potentially, the best finish in the district, we're in third currently. It has been the best season that we have ever had here and I am so proud to be a part of it. Their hard work and dedication has been amazing."
For Perez, she said her tenure at Heritage has been the "best four years ever."
"High school is so memorable and being with these people, they are family to me," Perez added. I've grown so many friendships and it's just been great."
Richard piggybacked the sentiment, explaining her time with the program has "probably been the most fun thing that I have done in high school and it's taught me a lot. And I have all of them (teammates) in my life now, so it's a bunch of wins in my life. It's been really fun."
Pilkington agreed with all of the above.
"It has been really good and I am so proud of everybody," she said. "There have been some ups and there have been some downs, but it has all just made these last four years amazing."
Pilkington added that her teammates are "great people and I don't know what I would do without them. They are great people off of the softball field and great players on the softball field. I just love them so much."
As for Friday, the Heritage bats came alive to the tune of 14 hits and 15 runs scored in a four-inning run-rule win.
Ashley Deshasier and Elizabeth Schmidt both scored in the bottom of the first inning to send Heritage starting pitcher Haley Warren into the top of the second inning with a 2-0 lead.
Warren ultimately tossed a four-inning complete game and allowed just two hits. She also struck out two and walked one.
The game then broke wide open in the bottom of the second inning.
Heritage sent 16 batters to the plate and scored 11 runs on seven hits.
The Jaguars then added one run in each of the third and fourth innings for the 15-0 victory.
Pilkington supplied the lone extra-base hit for the Jaguars, a lead-off double in the bottom of the second inning.
Ashley Deshasier, Alexa Perez, Tatum Pilkington, Kailey Pollock and Elizabeth Schmidt all drove in two runs during the win. Jessica Hershey, Zoe Isom and Rachel Richard plated the other earned runs three.
Julianna Nigo took the loss for Ferris. She allowed 12 earned runs on eight hits over one-plus innings of work.
Natalie Duran and Zylanda Harrison collected the two Ferris base hits.
"We are going to try to figure out how we can get mentally tougher moving forward," Ferris head softball coach John Holton said. "I'm at a loss right now and I've run out of words to say, quotes to give and drills at practice. But, as I've told them from day one: Every L is on me and every W is on them. So right now as a coach and a coaching staff, we have to go back and see what we can do differently next time."
Heritage enjoyed a bye on Tuesday and returns to action at 7 p.m. Friday at home against Hillsboro.
Fred Phipps/Daily Light contributed to this report.