Lady Tigers dispatch Lady Blues, meet Decatur Friday
GLEN ROSE — The Glen Rose Lady Tigers will open the second round of the UIL Class 4A softball playoffs Friday at 6 p.m. when they host the Decatur Lady Eagles in the first game of a three-game series.
The Lady Tigers (21-5), the District 6-4A champion, enter the game after closing out the series with Graham on Friday with a 7-6 Game 2 victory, and the Lady Eagles, the second-place team from District 7-4A, beat FW Western Hills 25-3 in the first round of the playoffs.
“I thought we competed well in the Graham series. Graham played the best that we’ve seen them play, and we were able to scratch out two wins,” Glen Rose softball coach Kiel Miller said. “In my opinion, we grew up as a team during this series. We not only battled our opponent but we also had to battle Mother Nature.”
Decatur lost to Krum on the final day of the regular season, dropping the Lady Eagles into a first-place tie with Argyle. Argyle won the game for seeding purposes, 3-0, making Decatur the No. 2 team from that district.
The Lady Eagles rely on a pair of sophomore pitchers in Liv Lowry, who is 8-2 with a 1.78 ERA, and Macey Jones, who is 10-2 with 3.04 ERA. As a team, the Lady Eagles are hitting .386, led by senior Trystyn Trull, who is hitting .518 with nine doubles, five triples, three homers and 34 RBIs.
The Lady Tigers are hitting .353 as team, led by Kaycee Bock, who is hitting .526 with 20 doubles, two triples, two homers and 31 RBIs. Felicity Austin is hitting .448, while Mallory Goff and Taylor McKenzie are hitting .431 and .406, respectively.
In the circle, McKenzie sports a 12-2 record with a 0.82 ERA and 159 strikeouts, while Addison Nance is 9-3 with a 2.91 ERA with 63 strikeouts.
“Decatur is a good team, no doubt,” Miller said. “They have a good pitcher, solid defense and some really good hitters. With that being said, I think we are the better team. I expect this series to be a lot like the Graham series, minus the rain — close, low-scoring ball games.”
Game 2 is scheduled for noon on Saturday in Decatur, and if necessary, Game 3 will immediately follow.
On Friday at Bowie, the Lady Tigers were clinging to a one-run lead with two outs and the Lady Blues had the bases loaded and full count on the hitter. After a series of foul balls with the count at 3-2, Nance got the hitter to fly out softly to Brooklynn Vara at second to end the game.
“Game 2 was a nail-biter. It doesn’t get any more clutch than having a one-run lead with the bases loaded, two outs and a 3-2 count on the batter,” Miller said. “It made me very proud to see our girls perform in the way that they did in those conditions and in that situation.”
The Lady Tigers scored five in the top of the first only to see the Lady Blues score four in the bottom of the first to make it 5-4 on the rainy night that saw rain delays. The Lady Blues tied the score at 5-5 with a run in the bottom of the third.
Two innings later, the Lady Blues were poised to take the lead, but centerfielder Goff threw a perfect strike to catcher Austin to cut down the runner for the third out to preserve the tie.
Bock opened the top of the seventh with a double and Austin singled to give the Lady Tigers a pair of base runners with no outs. Goff singled to left, and eventually reached second on an error, but both Bock and Austin scored on the play to give the Lady Tigers the 7-5 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.
The Lady Blues, who got the first two runners on to start the inning, tied the score on a Glen Rose error, but Nance, despite having the bases loaded, preserved the win with a pop out.
“Addison threw a great pitch that the girl hit softly, and Brooklynn made a great read on the ball and tracked it down,” Miller said.
Goff had a pair of hits for the Lady Tigers and drove in three runs, while Bock and Austin had two hits each. Nance, who earned the win in the circle by allowing just one run on three hits in four innings, also drove in a pair of runs.