The softball playoffs heat up on Thursday as this week begins the first of six in a row. A few teams have already started the playoffs on Tuesday and Wednesday.
But what about the rest of the Fort Worth area?
Here are some of the players, teams and stories to watch?
Can Aledo return to the state?
The Ladycats were 5A state runners-up last season after falling to Barber’s Hill and got just two starters. Aledo has a loaded lineup that includes seven or eight college pledges/signatories, which also includes a sustainable rotation. Aledo, the No. 1 team in Region 5A, has outscored teams by 170 points this season. His only two losses came at semi-finalist Rockwall State in mid-February and a 1-0 loss to Coppell in early March. Aledo have won their last 14 games.
Aledo is in bracket 5A Region 1, but the Ladycats are in competition. Colleyville Heritage, Burleson Centennial, Justin Northwest, Mansfield Legacy and Richland are all in the top 6 of the final zone standings, which should make for some insane matchups in rounds two and three.
Chasing the story
It’s unclear what DFW’s home run record is, so let’s go with Morgan Holliday last season as the Grandview star had 21. The Dallas area record is Wylie’s Mary Stephens who had 19. Allen’s Sami Hood has 18 this season while Burleson Centennial’s Bailey Lindemuth also has 18. Lindemuth is a two-way star averaging .593, 48 hits and 68 RBIs. That’s all in just 30 games. By the way, Lindemuth is only a second year student.
Aledo (23-2): Most of their team has returned, and the Ladycats are averaging 8.5 points per game. Aledo can also go three to four pitchers deep with three of them having six or more wins.
Bowell (26-3): The Pioneers went to the regional semi-finals last season, the deepest of any Boswell side, and it looks likely that side will return in this round. The Pioneers finished as the No. 1 6A team in the region.
Colleyville Legacy (25-3): Freshman pitcher McKinley Swaim (17 wins, 2.28 ERA, 114 strikeouts) led the Panthers through the second half of the season. Heritage is riding a 10-game winning streak and has won 14 of the last 15 games.
Justin Northwest (23-7): The Texans finished second at 6-5A and went to the regional finals last season. Northwest has a number of key sticks and pitcher Abi Young, who missed the start of the season, is returning to form.
Burleson Centenary (23-7): The Spartans add another squad to a 5A Region 1 bracket already loaded into DFW. Four players are among the region’s leaders in hits, average, homers and RBI.
Keller (18-10): The Indians are back as district champions. After going 1-3 at the start of March, Keller finished the season with a 13-2 record.
Mansfield Lake Ridge (21-6): The Eagles rallied in the final week of the regular season with back-to-back wins over district leader Waco Midway to earn a district title and a No. 1 seed in Region 2’s Bracket 6A.
Grandview (27-3): The 3A powerhouse is posting big offensive numbers as a team with nearly 350 hits and runs, 32 home runs and a .467 batting average.
Bailey Lindemuth, Burleson centenarian: As mentioned earlier, the second year is showing insane stats for the Spartans. Along with his hitting, Lindemuth has 10 wins, a 2.22 ERA and 120 strikeouts.
Tia Warsop/Paris Johnson, Lake Mansfield Ridge: This dynamic duo is 2 and 3 in zone hits with 57 and 56. Both are hitting over .550 and have a total of 74 stolen bases. Oklahoma State’s commitment, Warsop, is the first in the region with 40.
Macy Graf, Aledo: The nationally ranked shortstop returns after two months with an injury to give an already loaded roster another weapon in striking, defense and speed. In her first game back, the Mississippi State signee led the Ladycats with a home run inside the park.
Maya Bland, Argyle: The junior star leads the Eagles with 14 homers (second in the zone), a .528 average and 40 RBI as the team seeks a return trip to the Regional Finals.
Marissa Powell, Aledo: The reigning offensive MVP in all areas leads the Ladycats with an average of .500, 40 hits and 35 RBIs. She hit four homers, including two off Dallas No. 1 6A Prosper.
Catie Amador, Joshua: The sophomore pitcher helped the Owls win a district title and a seed. Amador is second in the region with 229 strikeouts, 12 wins and a 1.54 ERA.
Alli Stidham, Boswell: Player of the Year in all regions, Stidham finished the regular season leading the region with 20 wins, 252 strikeouts and posted a sub-1.00 ERA. She has five hits and has gone over 13 or more strikeouts in 10 games.
Morgan Holliday/Faith Goodgion, Grandview: Both are reaching above 0.550 with Holliday sitting at 0.621. They combined for 23 homers, 93 RBIs and 107 hits. Holliday is first with 59 hits.
Jacey Power, Alvarado: The Indians won a one-game series on Wednesday as Power threw a no-hitter. She has 21 wins on the season with 42 hits, 52 RBI (second), a sub-2.00 ERA and nearly 200 strikeouts.
Abi Young, Justin Northwest: Newcomer of the Year last season, Young is back to form after starting the season with an injury. Since then, Young has 15 wins, a sub-1.30 ERA and 160 strikeouts. Northwest won its playoff opener against Azle on Wednesday.
DeNae Vasquez-Dickson, Colleyville Legacy: Leading the Panthers, DVD is tied for second with 57 hits, hitting .600 with five home runs, 25 RBIs, 50 runs scored and 27 stolen bases.
Nicole Stuhr, Timber Creek: Stuhr has already set multiple program records and comes in with 12 wins and is third in the region with 192 strikeouts.
Jacey Lees, Richland: The sophomore pitcher is tied for third with 19 wins, has a 1.44 ERA and 177 strikeouts.
Lauren Belles, Weatherford: The Kangaroos ace has 16 wins, a 1.38 ERA and 134 strikeouts.
Natalie Moreaux/Carly Cox: Pair helped the Broncos to a co-district championship and combined for 98 hits, nearly .600 and 77 RBI. Moreaux has 10 wins, a 1.02 ERA and 114 strikeouts.