AREA SOFTBALL: Wall Escapes Title Bout with Ballinger
BALLINGER, TX -- The Wall Lady Hawks had to sweat the final two outs of their 5-4 district title-clinching win over the Ballinger Lady Bearcats on Friday.
Thanks to a leadoff triple from Payton Box, followed by an RBI single from Izzy Vera, Wall retook the lead at 5-4 an inning after seeing a three-run margin erased.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Kayli Greer gave the Lady Bearcats a jolt with a triple to the right field wall. It looked as though Daniella Luna was set to end the game with a towering fly ball to right as well and Greer thought the same thing. As she trotted down the baseline in celebration she saw the ball starting to fall short and had to retreat, eliminating a chance to at least tie the game in that at-bat.
The very next at-bat, Tristen Hoelscher popped out to shortstop Taylor Hunt on one pitch and the game was over.
“It’s heartbreaking. That’s not the outcome we wanted,” Ballinger head coach Missy Vaughn said. “But, we’ve gotta keep fighting. We’ve got another district game Monday. After that, there’s playoffs. That’s what we’re gonna prepare for.”
Across the field, pure elation escaped the Lady Hawks’ dugout after completing one of the biggest midseason turnarounds in recent memory.
After starting district play 0-2, head coach Steve Bain was not sure a district championship was within reach. They just “went to work” each day looking to get better.
“Let’s win one everyday, that was our motto,” Bain said. “We just wanted to get better one day at a time … I knew we were fixing to get our seniors and our basketball players back. Our mentality was ‘Ok, our backs are against the wall. Let’s go to work.’”
Payton and Ashlynn Box proved their senior leadership on the field. The duo combined for five of Wall’s nine hits.
“There’s something about those Box girls,” Bain laughed. “They live in the moment, they love the moment. They love the sport, they love playing right. That’s a testament to the hard work they put in.”
Ashlynn, with a two-out double in the first inning, extended her on-base streak to 47 games and her hitting streak to 22 games. The last time she failed to reach was her sophomore year.
“I have a lot of confidence,” Ashlynn said. “I have this goal with myself where I don’t wanna strike out. My sophomore year, I struck out once the entire season. I’m trying to cut that to zero. I’m just playing for them.”
Friday was a little sweeter than a normal win for Payton, who celebrated her birthday the day prior.
“This is awesome,” she beamed. “I’m ecstatic. Nobody thought this was gonna be us. But it’s a really good birthday present.”
Kaitlyn Stephens landed the opening blow with a solo home run to center field in the third inning. She would finish the day 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Ashlynn finished as the only Lady Hawk with three hits in the win, going 3-for-4 with an RBI. Payton finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Kiana Alfaro led the way for Ballinger, going 1-for-3 with a team-high two RBIs.
Izzy Vera picked up the win in the circle after seven innings of work, where she allowed four runs on seven hits and four walks with three strikeouts.
Daniella Luna took the loss for Ballinger after nearly matching her counterpart from Wall. Luna allowed five runs on nine hits and no walks with three strikeouts.
Wall (11-16, 9-2) will close the season at home against Reagan County on Tuesday. Ballinger (9-7-1, 8-3) will finish the regular season on the road at TLCA.
Miles Clinches Playoff Berth in Offensive Slugfest
The Miles Lady Bulldogs are playoff-bound after knocking off Roby 26-11 in three innings on Friday.
Miles tallied 18 hits in the win and scored early and often. The Lady Bulldogs picked up 12 runs in the bottom of the first inning. The first inning onslaught was highlighted by an inside-the-park grand slam from Skyler Brooks.
Brooks finished the day 1-for-2 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Leading Miles was Mikaela Fernandez, who went 3-for-4 at the plate with six RBIs, two runs scored and a double to her name. The Lady Bulldogs had six players finish with multiple hits. Four of those finished with multiple RBIs.
Cambree Schwartz picked up the win in the circle for her two innings of work where she allowed six runs on three hits and four walks with two strikeouts.
Miles (12-12, 5-4) will close out the regular season at home against Rotan on Tuesday.
Jalomo's Seven RBIs Keep Winters in District Title Race
The Winters Lady Blizzards picked up a 26-10 win over Hamlin in five innings on Friday to keep pace in the race for the District 6-2A title.
The Lady Blizzards' offensive dominance was highlighted by Saleen Jalomo, who went 3-for-5 with seven RBIs, two runs scored and she was a single shy of hitting for the cycle.
Jalomo highlighted a 12-run first inning with a three-run home run.
Hamlin would eventually pull within three runs in the bottom of the second inning before the Lady Blizzards scored 13 unanswered runs to close out the game.
Querstin Lara picked up the win in 2.2 innings of work, where she allowed 10 runs on 12 hits and six walks. Miranda Rodriguez came on for 2.1 perfect innings of relief where she didn't allow a base runner and struck out four batters. All 16 pitches she threw were strikes.
Winters (15-7, 7-2) will travel to Roby on Tuesday. A win plus losses from Hermleigh and Rotan would give Winters a share of the district title.
Big Second Inning Helps Mason Set Up Title Showdown
The Mason Cowgirls kept their unblemished district record in tact with a dominant 15-1 win over Eldorado in four innings at home on Friday.
Mason finished the game with eight hits.
Eldorado picked up their run in the third inning on a double from Jocelyn Massey. The Lady Eagles finished with three hits.
Tristin Keller finished the day with top marks for Mason after going 2-for-2 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Kelcey Doss finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored.
Massey took the loss after allowing 15 runs on eight hits and five walks with a strikeout.
Mason (15-7, 9-0) will travel to Harper on Tuesday looking to clinch the district championship. Eldorado (6-11, 3-6) hosts Menard on Tuesday looking to clinch a playoff berth.
Scores from the area:
- Hurst Bell 7, Central 3
- Brady 12, Sonora 1
- Harper 12, Junction 6