Aledo junior pitcher Hannah Andrews issued no walks and limited Birdville to three scattered hits to lead the Ladycats to a 2-0 victory over the Lady Hawks Friday night at Haslet Eaton High School to square the best-of-3 regional quarterfinals series at a game apiece.
The third and deciding game will be played at 2 p.m. Saturday at Eaton High School. The winner will advance to the regional semifinals.
Ladycats head coach Heather Oakes was proud of her team and Andrews from bouncing back from a 7-1 defeat last night in the series opener.
“I am always confident with this group,” she said. “(Thursday) was not my team. I expected to see my team today, and I did. Hannah had everything working for her and she did an excellent job of hitting her spots.”
Andrews struck out one batter in seven innings, and Oakes said the plan today for her pitcher was to pitch to contact and stay in control.
“I have been working with Hannah in letting her use her defense,” Oakes said. “She is a great pitcher and she can strike people out, but when we see better hitters (deep in the playoffs) we need Hannah to let them hit it and let the defense handle it.”
The Ladycats’ defense proved the worth of Oakes’ strategy. The biggest defensive play came in the top of the sixth inning with Aledo holding a slim 2-0 lead.
Birdville had a runner on second base with two outs and clean-up hitter Callie Burris at the plate. Burris sent a towering fly ball deep near the fence in the right-centerfield alley that appeared would fall to possibly cut the Ladycats’ lead in half.
But senior center fielder Kadyn Kirkpatrick dove to her left and caught the ball at the tip of her glove as she rolled over. After making contact with the ground, Kirkpatrick immediately held her glove in the air to indicate to umpires she had caught the ball and the inning ended with Aledo still holding the 2-0 lead.
But the senior captain was not finished. Kirkpatrick made a running, shoe-string catch for the second out of the seventh inning before Andrews induced a ground out to end the game.
“Kadyn is irreplaceable and I will miss her next year,” Oakes said. “She is a game changer, and today she did it with her glove and her bat (Kirkpatrick led the team with two hits, including a double). Her catch (in the sixth) was huge.”
The Ladycats took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning when Mykayla Stroud walked, stole second base and advanced to third base on a fielder’s choice. She scored on a wild pitch in what proved to be the game-winning run.
Aledo added a score in the fourth for a two-run advantage.
Senior Landri Mays led off with a single to center field and was replaced at first base by speedy courtesy runner Krissy Johnson. Johnson scored two batters later after a double from Bailee Whitener.
Bearcats 2, Wichita Falls Rider 1
Aledo held off a late Wichita Falls Rider rally as the Bearcats slipped past the Raiders, 2-1, Friday night at Bowie High School to knot up the best-of-3 area series at one game each.
Game 3 will be played at noon Saturday at Bowie. The winner will advance to the regional quarterfinals.
Kannon Brown was the winning pitcher for the Bearcats, allowing a run on four hits with one walk and six strikeouts.
With Aledo leading 2-0 after 6-1/2 innings, Rider scratched for a run in the bottom of the seventh to cut the lead to 2-1. After Brown allowed a double to begin the seventh, head coach Chad Barry replaced Brown with relief pitcher Jacob Ashkinos, who held off the Raiders to collect the save and seal the win.
The game was scoreless through three innings. In the fourth frame, the Bearcats took advantage of a Rider error as Michael Alvarez scored for a 1-0 lead.
Aledo added a run in the top of the seventh inning when Hunter Rosson doubled to drive in Carter Windes – pinch running for Calloway Shands – for a 2-0 advantage.