But they saved perhaps their most important moments for their last regular season game at home.
Trailing 1-0 to Greenville Friday night in a must-win district matchup, the two seniors - Katie Dougan and Gracie Cable - ignited a listless Lady Cat offense to propel Sulphur Springs to a 9-2 win and a share of the district lead with only one district game remaining on the schedule.
With two outs in the bottom of the third, Dougan laid down a beautiful bunt single to keep the inning alive then, after a huge Greenville error, Cable delivered the dagger to the Lady Lion's heart with a game-changing three-run home run to straight away center field for a 3-1 Sulphur Springs lead.
Coupled with Sherman's loss to Texas High, the win pushed the Lady Cats into a two-way tie for first place in District 13-4A with Sherman. The final district game of the year for Sulphur Springs is scheduled for Tuesday night in Mount Pleasant.
It was an ugly start for the Lady Cats. Ace pitcher Hailey Dixon, who struggled with her command in the early innings of the game, got out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning and walked in a run in the second. Meanwhile, the Sulphur Springs offense was ineffective against Greenville starter Rachel Cook, managing only one base runner - on a hit by pitch - over the first two innings.
But with two down in the third, Dougan provided the spark the club needed. The speedy center fielder's bunt died on the third-base side of home plate and Greenville had no shot at throwing her out at first. When the Lady Lions botched Meagan McCullough's grounder to second, it set the stage for the team's other senior to turn the game around. Cable drove an 0-1 pitch over the wall in dead center field that brought the crowd - and the team - to life.
Kiara Johnson followed Cable's blast with a single to center, then scored easily when sophomore Jaleigh Avery tripled to the right-field corner. Junior Kaylee Anderson ended the offensive onslaught with a no-doubt two-run home run to left-center, pushing the Sulphur Springs lead to 6-1.
With a lead in hand, Dixon found her groove, giving up one run on only two hits over the remaining four innings - retiring the final six Lady Lion batters in order.
Meanwhile, the Lady Cat offense kept on producing. Avery's single in the fifth inning scored Johnson from second base for a 7-1 lead, then Cable capped off Senior Night with a two-run single in the sixth to put the game away.
Cable ended the night 2-for-4 with 5 RBI to lead the Sulphur Springs offense. Johnson and Avery both had two hits each for Sulphur Springs, while Dougan, Anderson, Dixon, Toni Cody and Hailey Chester had a hit apiece.
Dixon took the win on the mound, giving up two runs (one earned) on seven hits and four walks. She struck out three.
“The home run got us going after a slow start. I knew we would come back and play well,” said David Carrillo, Sulphur Springs head softball coach. “We won and Sherman lost Friday to Texas High so we are 9-2 and they are 8-2. We are playing for a district championship Tuesday at Mount Pleasant. If we win, we could do no worse than tie for the title. If we tie, then we will either flip a coin or play it off. We are even with Sherman for the year in head-to-head meetings. We’re in a good position.”
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