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Reigning 30-4A co-MVP thrives after knee injury

By aalvarado
April 26, 2012 at 11:01 p.m.
Updated April 26, 2012 at 11:27 p.m.

East catcher Lexi Elkins connects to drive in a run in the bottom of the fourth inning against West on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at Victoria Youth Sports Complex.JONATHAN HINDERLITER/JHINDERLITER@VICAD.COM

Class 4A Bi-district Playoffs

Game 1: Friday, 7 p.m., Victoria Youth Sport Complex Game 2: Saturday, 1 p.m., Tiger Field in San AntonioGame 3: If necessary, follows Game 2Winner plays either Mercedes or Corpus Christi Flour Bluff in the area playoffs.

In the offseason, the Victoria East Titans softball team looked set to build upon its successful inaugural season.

The Titans returned most of the players they had from 2011 and looked set for another district title and playoff run.

But, for catcher Lexie Elkins, an offseason ACL tear in her right knee put things into perspective.

"It was sad not being able to play for six months," Elkins said. "I love this sport, and I love everything about it. It's really humbling, every game, every at bat, I take advantage."

Elkins and the Titans (16-13) will look for their second straight Class 4A bi-district playoff win this weekend when they play a three-game series against San Antonio Kennedy (17-8).

Game 1 takes place at the Victoria Youth Sports Complex on Friday. The series shifts to Tiger Field in San Antonio on Saturday for Games 2 and 3, if necessary.

Last year, Elkins was named the District 30-4A co-MVP after leading the Titans in batting and helping East win a share of the district title.

In the offseason, her ACL tear required six months of recovery before she could be back to full strength on the field.

Victoria East interim coach Lee Price said he knew Elkins wasn't the type of player to lay on the couch for six months.

"If it did one thing, it motivated me to want to play again," Elkins said.

Added Price: "The hardest thing was to try to tell her to slow it down sometimes when it came to softball."

Opposing pitchers haven't been able to slow down Elkins often this season. She has a .510 batting average with 45 RBIs.

Price added that Elkins' game has improved since last season's MVP campaign and called her a tremendous athlete.

"She's one of those players that when it's time to be big, she's there," Price said.

The Kennedy Lady Rockets are led by junior pitcher Nicole Cerda.

Through 20 games, Cerda is hitting .603 with 36 RBIs in the plate. On the Mound, Cerda is 10-2 with a 0.55 batting average and 52 strikeouts.

Sophomore pitcher Alisha Quinterro will likely be in the pitchers circle to begin the three-game series on Friday.

Quinterro pitched East to the area playoffs as a freshman last season.

"I know what to expect now that I'm a sophomore and it's our second year in the playoffs," Quinterro said.

Quinterro is 14-9 with a 3.25 ERA and has 83 strikeouts in the regular season.

Last year, the Titans beat San Antonio Brackenridge in the bi-district round before losing a three-game series to Tuloso-Midway in the area playoffs.

Lee is confident the 2011 playoffs served as a learning experience.

"Our girls know what's at stake," Price said. "They've been there before and they know once it gets to playoff time, it's either you're playing or you're going home."

Although she has another year after this season to play for the Titans, Elkins has already made up her mind regarding what she wants to do after graduating high school.

She has her sights set on playing for Louisiana State University and studying kinesiology in preparation for a softball coaching career.

"This sport has given me so much, I can never give enough back," Elkins said.

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