No pressure, right? Wrong. Only the top spot in district was on the line Monday night at Lady Cat Park. The Lady Cats looked to maintain control of the district standings on Senior Night, but the Texas High Lady Tigers, who were in a close second place position, had different intentions defeating Sulphur Springs, 6-1.
Sulphur Springs fell to 8-3 in District 13-4A (21-8 overall), while Texas High edged ahead of the Lady Cats in the standings with an 8-2 record (22-4 overall).
The game started with a walk for Texas High’s Morgan Patton from senior pitcher, Kaci Kennedy. After a sacrifice bunt, the Lady Tigers quickly put themselves into scoring position with Patton on second.
With two outs in the top of the first inning, Texas High’s Kaci Stilson connected on a 1-2 pitch for an RBI double to put the Lady Tigers on the scoreboard. One batter later Stilson found herself crossing home plate off another RBI double from Carlen Kessell.
After a half inning of play, the Lady Cats found themselves down 2-0 and in need of a productive at-bat. Jalie Eppars led off for Sulphur Springs and on her first pitch knocked a base hit, and JaMonica Hall followed with a successful bunt for a base hit setting up Mac Morgan to do some clean-up work for the Lady Cats. The junior third basemen stepped up to the plate and used her powerful swing to hammer in a run on an RBI double to left field.
The next three at bats were not as stunning for the Lady Cats as Texas High’s Ariel McDowell threw two strikeouts to keep the lead in the Lady Tigers’ hands, 2-1.
Sulphur Springs started out the second inning strong by getting an early out at first base from Kennedy to Katie Dodd. The Lady Tigers’ Stephanie Bledsoe swung her way onto first and then moved to second base thanks to a sacrifice bunt by Taylor Robnett.
Following a Patton single, Texas High’s ace McDowell batted in two runs with a double. Down 4-1, after only one and a half innings, Coach David Carrillo decided it was time for an early pitching change bringing in junior Taylor Clifton.
Three pitches later, Lady Tiger Alana Rhone got hit by a pitch, then the Lady Cats would find themselves in an even deeper hole after an RBI single from Stilson, her second of the game.
Down 5-1 heading into the bottom of the second, the Lady Cats needed to get on base quickly and try to cut down the Lady Tiger lead. Senior Brittani Crawford popped out to McDowell, who then fanned two more Lady Cats, bringing her night’s strikeout total to four and leaving the Lady Cats scoreless on the inning.The Lady Cats began to flex their defensive muscle, leaving the Lady Tigers 1-for-4 on their at bats and scoreless in the top of the third. The Lady Tigers answered yet again thanks to McDowell’s dominant arm, which dished out two additional strikeouts.
Sulphur Springs and Texas High traded out three uneventful innings offensively. Heading into the top of the seventh and final inning, the Lady Cats’ Clifton had four strikeouts and the Lady Tiger’s McDowell had racked up 11 of her own.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Texas High’s Bledsoe knocked in another run for the Lady Tigers with an RBI double putting her team up 6-1. One final chance remained for the Lady Cats but the deficit was too large to overcome.
The Lady Cats will play at Mount Pleasant Friday at 6 p.m. in another key District 13-4A game.
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