It was a fitting end to a successful regular softball season.
Hailey Dixon made Senior Night special throwing a one-hit shutout as Sulphur Springs pounded Pine Tree, 11-0.
The large crowd at Lady Cat field saw the home team play one of their better games of the year. They ended the regular season with a lopsided win, sending the Lady Pirates packing for Longview in just 79 minutes.
The Lady Cats set the tone of the game with six runs in the second inning and finished off the Lady Pirates 11-0 in a game halted by the 10-run rule.
Sulphur Springs hammered the ball getting 11 hits. They backed up the stellar pitching of Dixon. Dixon's only blemish on the night was a single by TeTe Thurmond in the third. Dixon struck out nine, walked three and hit one batter in her final home outing. She threw 80 pitches, 50 for strikes facing 20 batters.
Neither team scored in the first inning. Dixon struck out three of the first three of the first six batters she faced.
In the top of the second, Pine Tree went down in order as Dixon struck out the side on 13 pitches.
The bats got rolling for the Lady Cats in the bottom of the sixth as they sent 10 batters to the dish with six scoring. Jaleigh Avery singled down the left field line to start the rally. Haylee Chester followed with a single to center field. Makayla Glosson popped out to the outfield. Kaylee Anderson singled to left field to load the sacks. With a Lady Cat at every base, Maci McGlamery clubbed a hit to the outfield gap plating two runners while she motored into second on the throw home. Toni Cody coaxed a walk and the bases were juiced again with the Lady Cats up 2-0. McCullough grounded into a fielder's choice with the out recorded on a force out at the plate. With the bases still loaded, Dixon ripped an 0-1 offering between center and right fielders for a triple which cleared the sacks making it a 5-0 game. Kiara Johnson hit a fly ball to the outfield which fell in untouched for a double, scoring another Lady Cat run. Avery grounded out, but the damage was done as the home team was in command up 6-0.
The Lady Pirates had their best scoring chance of the night as Thurmond reached on a one-out single to shallow right field. Layla Jaynes worked a walk. With runners at first and second, Dixon got the next two batters out on harmless fly balls to the outfield.
It appeared the Lady Cats would have another big inning in the bottom of the third. Glosson ripped a solid single up the middle. Kaylee Anderson doubled home a run to pad the advantage fo 7-0. Cody reached on a walk. But Pine Tree pitcher Melanie Wilson got the next batters on a strike out and pop fly to the outfield. Sulphur Springs had to be content with a 7-0 lead after three frames.
Dixon sat down the first two batters of the top of the fourth on eight pitches including excellent offspeed offerings. The next batter was retired by Johnson in left on a nice running catch of a sinking line drive.
Johnson got the chance to score just moments later as she opened the bottom of fourth with a triple to the outfield fence. Avery singled to left field as the Lady Cats went up 8-0. Sulphur Springs could not pad the margin and action moved to the top of the fifth.
Pine Tree went to their bench, but it did not shake Dixon as she retired two players off the pines and got three outs in rapidfire order.
The Lady Cats ended the game in walk-off fashion with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Cody reached and McCullough singled. Dixon pounded the ball to third scoring a run as the Lady Cats went up 9-0. With two outs and runners at second and third, Avery ripped a single to right field scoring both runners and ending the game by the final of 11-0.
The game was the last home contest for seniors McCullough, Dixon, Kelsie Adams, McGlamery, Anderson and Cody.
The Lady Cats will enter the playoffs as the third place team in district with a 6-4 mark, 19-12 overall.
Pine Tree went winless in district play posting a record of 0-10.
Sulphur Springs faces McKinney North in the bi-district playoffs. The teams will play a three-game series, the first game is set for Thursday at 7 p.m. on the road. The second game is Friday in Sulphur Springs at 7 p.m. with the third game, if needed, at McKinney North at 10 a.m. Saturday.
“It was a great win for us and a great way for the seniors to go out,” said David Carrillo, Lady Cats head softball coach. “We were able to take care of our business. Hopefully we will remain hot for a good playoff run.”
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