Lady Tigers eliminate Decatur, meet No. 2 Iowa Park on Thursday

Jay Hinton
Glen Rose Reporter
Glen Rose’s Taylor McKenzie earned both wins in the circle against Decatur by striking out 26 in the two games while walking just four.

GLEN ROSE — The Glen Rose Lady Tigers made history last week by becoming the first softball team in school history to advance past the area round with its 12-9 and 11-9 sweep over Decatur.

The Lady Tigers, however, are not satisfied.

“One of the sayings we use quite frequently is ‘Good is not good enough, when better is expected’,” Glen Rose softball coach Kiel Miller said. “These young ladies have taken this quote to heart. Area win is good, but the quarterfinal win is better.”

Glen Rose, the District 6-4A champion, will face a tough task in the regional quarterfinals when it meets No. 2 Iowa Park (33-1) on Thursday at 6 p.m. in Glen Rose. Game 2 will be Friday at Iowa Park, and if necessary, Game 3 will be Saturday in Graford (time TBA).

The Lady Hawks, the undefeated District 5-4A champion (10-0), enter the contest on a 30-game winning streak, and in those 30 games, they have scored 10 runs or more 24 times.

“Our pitchers are going to need to hit their spots and limit walks,”  Miller said. “From what I’ve seen on Iowa Park, they do a great job of taking advantage of your mistakes. Defensively, we are going to have to make every routine catch and throw. If we can do that, we can be in a position to win.”

The Lady Hawks beat Stephenville, 11-0 and 15-1, in the bi-district round, and Krum, 14-0, 7-2, in the area round. The Lady Tigers swept Graham (bi-district) and Decatur (area).

In the wins over Decatur, the Lady Tigers scored 23 runs on 30 base hits.

“We’ve been seeing the ball well as of late and are really being selective on what we swing at,” Miller said. “I think our confidence is really high, and we know we can score runs. We know in the back of our minds that if we are hitting the pitcher, eventually we are going to have a big inning or two, and we saw that in this series.”

In Game 1 against Decatur on Friday night, the Lady Tigers surrendered a five-run lead by giving up five runs in the top of the sixth, but they answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning, and went on to win 12-9.

In Game 2 on Saturday, the Lady Tigers trailed 9-7 heading into the seventh inning, and this time they scored four runs to put the game out of reach at 11-9.

“Overall, I think it was a hard-fought series and a big morale boost for us,” Miller said. “I figured the games would be close, but I also thought they would be lower scoring than they were.”

Senior pitcher Taylor McKenzie was unhittable with the lead in the seventh as she retired the side in order in both games, and in Game 2, she struck out the side to lock up the area championship.

As a team, the Lady Tigers hit .469 in the series, led by Kaycee Bock and Catalina Sanchez, who both hit .714. Bock had three doubles and six RBIs, while Sanchez had a double and two RBIs. McKenzie hit .500 with a double and four RBIs, and Addison Nance hit .500 with a double, homer and three RBIs, while Emily Boucher hit .500 with an RBI.

Bock went 2 for 3 with two doubles and three RBIs in Game 1, while McKenzie, Callyn Miller, Sanchez and Boucher had two hits each. In Game 2, Bock and Sanchez tallied three hits each, and Bock and McKenzie drove in three runs each, while Nance drove in two with a homer. Mallory Goff, Boucher and Nance also had two hits each.

In earning both victories in the circle, McKenzie went 13 2/3 innings and allowed 17 hits, 13 runs (seven earned), walked four and struck out 26.

“Our team is maturing each week, and it is showing the deeper we go in the playoffs,” Miller said. “These girls just play with grit and don’t give up.”