AREA SOFTBALL: Ballinger's Luna Helps Own Cause in Slugfest with Reagan County
BALLINGER, TX -- The Ballinger Lady Bearcats strengthened their grip on first place in District 4-3A with a 12-9 win over the Reagan County Lady Owls in a game that featured four home runs on the blistery Friday.
"Our district ... it's just all over the place," Ballinger head coach Missy Vaughn said. "It's good [to start 4-0], but we're gonna keep fighting every game. We've gotta come out and play our ballgame."
The Lady Bearcats picked up three of those four home runs. Two of them came from starting pitcher Daniella Luna.
Ballinger fell behind in the top of the first inning after Brooklyn Hurt sent a no-doubt grand slam over the center field fence to put the Lady Owls up 4-0. That would be Hurt's only hit of the game, as she went 1-for-4 with four RBIs, a run scored, a strikeout and a walk
Luna answered in the bottom of the first with a two-run home run to cut the deficit to 4-2. Lauren Jalomo followed suit with a two-run shot to tie the game in the second before Luna gave Ballinger the lead with her second two-run blast in as many innings.
"They did a good job coming back," Vaughn said. "We had to take a minute to regroup ... We had a little discussion about what it takes to come back and dig deep and believe. They did a great job stepping up and job not quitting."
Ballinger would tack on three more runs in the bottom of the third before Reagan County answered. The Lady Owls plated three runs in the fourth, all of which came from Kaylee Vargas' triple. Vargas drove in two runs before advancing home on an error.
Ballinger then shut the Lady Owls down in the fifth and sixth innings behind three strikeouts from Luna.
Reagan County was able to bring the tying run to the plate twice in the seventh, but flew out and grounded out to end the game.
Luna finished the day 3-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored and four RBIs. The sophomore also pitched all seven innings where she allowed nine runs, five earned, on 10 hits against eight strikeouts.
After allowing the grand slam in the first inning, Luna settled down to strike out five of the next nine batters she faced. That helped the Lady Bearcats keep their momentum.
"It was very crucial," Vaughn said of Luna's performance. "We try to keep the momentum going throughout game whenever we can, but we've gotta capitalize on the little things. The strikeouts we've gotta make those positive and use those to our favor."
Jalomo finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a pair of runs scored. Jenna Battle also racked up three hits for Ballinger.
Yuli Balderas took the loss for Reagan County after six innings of work where she allowed 12 runs, seven earned, on 13 hits. Balderas was also 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Vargas finished as the only Lady Owl with a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with a pair of runs and a pair of RBIs.
Ballinger (5-4-1, 4-0) will travel to Wall on Tuesday. Reagan County (8-4, 2-3) will host Wall next Friday.