The Odessa College softball team continued to take its lumps, but also had some bright spots Saturday in dropping both games of a doubleheader against Temple College at Wrangler Field.
Temple College, the defending NJCAA national champion, defeated the Lady Wranglers 5-2 and 23-12 with the second game called after five innings.
"I think the biggest key for this first weekend, now that it's all over, take a step back and understand both the things that we've done well and the things we can obviously improve on," Odessa College coach Jeff Jackson said. "Really hammer on those things to make sure that we're improving every week.
"That's going to be the key, to make sure the team we are right now is not going to be the team we are at the end of the season or even the end of February."
Odessa College catcher Madison Zaccardo homered three times and drove in eight runs to provide the biggest highlight for the Lady Wranglers (0-4). Zaccardo finished the day 3 for 5 with a sacrifice fly.
"It definitely sets up a lot of work in the future," Zaccardo said of Odessa College's opening weekend, which started Friday with a pair of losses to McLennan Community College. "We worked a lot this past week, just working on finding out what we need to work on and going forward with that."
Temple College (7-2) pushed its winning streak to six games, concluding a 4-0 road trip that included a pair of victories Friday at Howard College. The Leopards totaled 28 hits Saturday, 10 of them for extra bases.
Tiler Noyola went 6 for 8 with a double, two triples and three RBIs to lead Temple College. Madilyn Weatherly, who hit a grand slam in the night cap, and Alyssa Escamilla, each finished with four hits.
"I thought that we swung it well this weekend," Temple College coach Kristen Zaleski said. "(Friday), I felt like we attacked the ball with a better plan. Early on (against Odessa College), I felt like we didn't go up there with a plan. We didn't put good swings on good pitches, necessarily. I thought that Game 2 today we got better at that.
"Pitching threw well for us in Game 1. In Game 2, I would have liked to see us do a little bit better job on balls in the air. A better read in right field, catch a pop up and we save several runs there."
In the opener, Temple College took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on Lenzi Stewart's home run and added single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth. Zaccardo connected with a runner on in the fifth to get the Lady Wranglers on the board.
Breanna Hernandez (3-1) threw a complete game for the win, retiring the first 11 batters she faced before Illy Cisneros singled with two outs in the fourth. Hernandez allowed four hits and struck out two.
Cori Turner (0-2) went the distance for Odessa College, allowing five runs on 10 hits. She struck out one.
In the nightcap, Temple College scored seven runs in the first inning, all of which came with two outs. The Leopards scored in every inning, breaking the game open with nine runs in the third. Odessa College answered the opening salvo with five runs in the first, but trailed 23-6 before getting six unearned runs in the fifth.
Daisy Gonzalez (3-1) worked three innings for the win in addition to hitting a three-run homer to get things started in the first. Weatherly's slam came in the third and Savanna Parker added a two-run homer in the sixth.
Zaccardo hit a three-run homer in the first and a two-run shot in the sixth for Odessa College.
Jackson said the competition Odessa College faced in its first two outings will help the Lady Wranglers down the road.
"These teams will expose you," he said. "That's definitely the key when you're bringing in teams like McLennan and Temple, the teams we've got coming into our tournament, and also our road series that we're having the next three weeks after that.
"All of those teams can really help pinpoint exactly what you can work on. If you're going out there and just whooping up on people … I bet it's really hard for Temple to learn something to do right the next game because you just scored 23 runs. For us, it's easy to pinpoint exactly where we failed and how we can get better."
ARTICLE BY- SAM WALLER:ODESSA AMERICAN
PHOTO BY- JACOB FORD:ODESSA AMERICAN