Forney draws first blood in area series

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY, News-Telegram Sports Editor

May 4, 2008 - Two-out-of-three ain't bad. In fact, two out of three will get you to the next round of the playoffs.

That's the mindset the Sulphur Springs Lady Cats have to take after the Forney Lady Rabbits came away with a 6-2 victory in the first game of their best-of-three area round playoff series.

The series resumes at 11 a.m. today in Forney, with Game 3 to follow if necessary.

The middle of the Forney lineup had the bulk of the team's 11 hits, including a solo home run by Shelby Brogdon that gave the Lady Rabbits a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Forney led the rest of the way, adding two runs in the third and putting up two final runs in the seventh that sealed the win.

Sulphur Springs countered with a solo home run from freshman Kara Tomlinson and an RBI single by junior Krista McMahan. But, Forney pitcher M'Lynn Tiller allowed just one hit over the final two innings to keep the Lady Cats at bay.

The Lady Cats were coming off a two-game sweep of Marshall in the bi-district round, but Forney's combination of speed and power kept Sulphur Springs off-balance, said SSHS head coach David Carrillo.

"It kind of seemed like we were running uphill, treading water with a brick on our legs," he said. "We hope that tomorrow will be a different story.

"It's like I told them last week when we won Game 1 - this is a series, not one game. I think they understand that."

Tillery allowed just five SSHS hits and walked one while fanning four. The Lady Cats had baserunners in two of the first three innings, but couldn't push across their first run until the fourth when Katie Dodd walked with one out and pinch runner Jalie Eppars stole second base. That allowed her to score when McMahan drilled a two-out single to center field.

That cut the Forney lead to 3-1. Forney had scored on Brogdon's home run in the second and on Erica LeFlore's two-run single in the third. LeFlore, batting clean-up, finished 3-for-4 with four RBI. The first five batters in the order combined for 10 of Forney's 11 hits, scored all six runs and drove in five.

SSHS senior Marci Womack took the loss, giving up five earned runs while striking out five.

"Tonight was not our night," Carrillo said. "Forney was able to put some offensive pressure on us, but at the same time we need to be more aggressive defensively. We let some balls get down that we should have caught. I told our girls that we need to be more aggressive because we have nothing to lose from here on out."

"They put pressure on us, and I think our girls had the deer-in-the-headlight-look. In this situation, you've got to make plays, and they made plays and we didn't."

The Lady Cats twice early had runners on base with one out. The first time was in the second inning when Brittani Crawford singled and Amanda McGowin reached on an error, but Tiller got a strikeout and ground ball to get out of the jam. In the third, switch hitter Mac Morgan hit an opposite-field single to left, but got doubled off when JaMonica Hall's hard liner was snagged by the pitcher.

The Lady Cat's other hit was a leadoff single by McGowin in the seventh. By then, Sulphur Springs was down by four runs after Forney's Caitlin Everett and Kallan Thompson had each scored in the top of the inning.

NOTES: Tomlinson's home run, which sailed over the left field fence, was her first of the season after being promoted to varsity midway through the district schedule. ... SSHS sophomore catcher Maurie Lewis twice picked off LeFlore on the bases.

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