Wall Claws Back to Sweep Way into Area Round
SNYDER, TX -- The Wall Lady Hawks made it past the first round of playoffs for the fourth consecutive year, but not with ease.
Wall swept Crane in a best-of-three bi-district series in Snyder on Thursday with a 15-5 win in five innings after trailing 3-0 and a nail-biting 12-9 win in game two that saw the Lady Hawks trail 8-5 at one point.
“[The wins] say a lot about our heart and how mentally tough we have become throughout the season,” head coach Steve Bain said. “We’ve kinda developed this mentality that we’re gonna play till the end. I’ll tell you what, you’ve gotta give it to Crane. They’re scrappy. They hit the ball well. We did everything we could to keep them from scoring.”
Wall’s roaring comeback in both games were marked by timely hitting. Senior Ashlynn Box picked up her second and third home runs of the season in game one with a towering three-run shot in the fourth inning to take the lead, followed by the senior’s first ever outside the park grand slam. That was a longtime coming for the Angelo State signee.
“I was excited. I haven’t done this in a while,” Box, who had nine homers last season, said. “My injury kinda put me on pause. I finally got the feeling back and it just felt natural.”
She would finish the twinbill 3-for-4 at the plate with nine RBIs, five runs scored and four walks. Three of those walks were intentional and came after an RBI single in the first inning of game two.
“That’s the ultimate respect they can show you. ‘Hey, we’re gonna walk you from now on.’” Bain said.
With hits in both games, Box extended her on-base streak to 50 games and her hit streak to 25 games.
While the first game appeared to be more crisp with dueling aces getting the start in the circle, game two featured Crane’s second starter, Emilie Park, who had a drastic velocity change from game one starter Layla Ybarra.
On one hand, the Lady Hawks were able to generate baserunners off 22 walks in the second game -- four consecutive walks with the bases loaded in the fifth inning gave Wall a 10-8 lead. On the other, they stranded twelve runners. The key was the dip in velocity.
“You definitely have to get your timing down before you get up to the plate,” Box said. “A slower pitcher, they’re definitely harder to hit off of. But as long as you adjust, and adjust the right way, you’ll still make the good contact.”
Junior pitcher Izzy Vera stepped up for Wall, picking up both wins. Very would go all five innings in game one, allowing five runs on nine hits with one strikeout, before coming on for 4.1 innings of relief where she allowed one run on four hits and two walks with a strikeout to pick up her second win of the day.
Wall (13-16) will face the winner of the Amarillo River Road/Brownfield matchup next week in the Area Round.
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