Both the Aledo Ladycats softball team and Bearcats baseball squad were eliminated from the Class 5A playoffs today with losses in the third and deciding games of their respective playoff series.
Birdville 3, Ladycats 1
Birdville pitcher Gracie Green allowed just three hits and struck out 12 to lead the Lady Hawks to a 3-1 win over the Ladycats Saturday afternoon at Eaton High School to win the best-of-3 regional quarterfinals series two games to one.
Green allowed a run and issued no walks to take the win. Hannah Andrews took the loss for Aledo, allowing three runs – but just two earned – on seven hits with four walks and a strikeout.
Birdville put together three hits in the first inning to plate two runs. The big hit in the frame was a run-scoring triple by Elena Garcia, and the Lady Hawks recorded another run when Callie Burris hit a sacrifice fly to score Garcia.
Birdville took advantage of an error in the second inning to score an unearned run to extend the lead to 3-0.
“We just didn’t get it done in the first inning,” Ladycats head coach Heather Oakes said. “We have to play clean for 21 outs and we didn’t do that. Errors are going to happen – it’s part of the game – but the main thing is the girls worked hard and fought until the end.
“The girls never gave up and left it all out on the field. Everybody gave their all today.”
With Birdville leading 3-0, the Ladycats cut the lead to two runs in the bottom of the second inning. Bailee Whitener reached first base after being hit by a pitch and advanced to second base on a wild pitch.
Whitener scored two batters later on a single to center field by Megan Reynolds to cut Birdville’s lead to 3-1.
But after that inning Green was near flawless in the circle. After allowing a base hit to Landri Mays in the fourth inning, Green retired 12 consecutive batters to seal the win.
Reynolds, Mays and Brynn Hellman each recorded a hit for AHS.
Despite the series loss, Oakes, who will lose just two starters to graduation, feels going three rounds deep in the playoffs validates the season and provided experience for the younger players.
“It was a great season,” Oakes said. “The playoff experience was huge for our underclassmen. This is huge and will help our confidence for next season.”
Wichita Falls Rider 9, Bearcats 7
Wichita Falls Rider came back from a 4-0 deficit and scored five late runs to hold off the Bearcats, 9-7, Saturday afternoon at Bowie High School to win the best-of-3 area series two games to one.
Deven Smith was the winning pitcher in relief for Rider, while starting pitcher Jacob Ashkinos took the loss for the Bearcats.
Trailing 9-5 as the game moved to the bottom of the seventh inning, Aledo comeback hopes brightened when Hunter Rosson smashed a two-run home run to cut the Raiders’ lead to 9-7. Rosson led the Bearcats with three runs batted in.
Rider inserted pitcher David Moffat, who threw a complete-game shutout to win the opening game, and he struck out the next two batters. The following batter, Michael Alvarez, singled to bring the game-tying run to the plate.
But Moffat fired a strikeout to seal the game and earn the save as Rider clinched the series.
The Bearcats scored four runs in the bottom of the second inning to take a 4-0 lead. Alvarez led off with a double and scored on a balk. He had reached third base on a Griffin Benson single.
Benson scored on a wild pitch, and a triple by Cam Caldwell plated Calloway Shands, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, for a 3-0 lead. Caldwell scored to increase the lead to 4-0 on a single by Rosson.
Unfortunately, the Bearcats’ four-run lead was short lived. Rider matched the effort in the top of the third, scoring four runs on four hits – including a double and a triple – to tie the contest at 4-4.
The Bearcats wasted little time in regaining the lead. Leading off the bottom of the third inning, Nick Cheema was hit by a pitch and he was replaced at first base by courtesy runner Carter Windes.
Alvarez, who would finish with a team-high three hits, recorded a single to move Windes to second base. Two batters later, Ashkinos singled to center field to drive in Windes as the Bearcats led, 5-4.
Rider regained the lead with two runs on three hits – including a solo homer by Moffat – in the fifth inning to take a 6-5 lead.
In the sixth inning, the Raiders added three more runs to extend their lead to 9-5. The big hit in the frame was a run-scoring double by Moffat.