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Ladycats lose 1-0 in state semifinal heartbreaker

Aledo’s resurgent season concludes against historic Harlingen South squad


GEORGETOWN – After losing to Richland in the area round of the 2023 postseason, the Aledo Ladycats softball team bounced back with a resurgent 2024 campaign that took the squad back to Austin.

The Ladycats marched into their state semifinal match against a Harlingen South squad making its first appearance in program history at this juncture of the postseason. Ultimately, the Lady Hawks pulled the upset in the pitchers’ duel, courtesy of a third-inning RBI single and coming out on the right side of a defensive rundown between third base and home for the game’s last out and a 1-0 victory Saturday afternoon at East View High School in Georgetown.

Aledo junior Taylor McKean took the circle for the Ladycats, who batted second in the contest and dazzled with a healthy combination of her offspeed repertoire and location on the outside corners. She nabbed two of her 14 strikeouts in the top of the first inning, but Lady Hawks junior pitcher Lexi Sandoval responded by striking out Aledo’s top of the order in succession.

Aledo got a strong scoring opportunity in the bottom of the second when third baseman Kyleigh Pawlak doubled to right field and was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Texas Tech-commit Brynlee Gonzales. After that, McKean drew a walk and her pinch runner, Grace Heath, stole second base shortly after her substitution on the base paths. However, an infield popout and a groundout during the next two at bats ended the threat.

Then, Harlingen South mustered the game’s only offense on a two-out RBI single by its second baseman Emily Ruiz for a 1-0 lead. The Ladycats threatened with two base runners in the bottom of the same frame but were stranded after a groundout to Lady Hawks’ star third baseman Amira Rodriguez, a Washington commit and the state’s current RBI leader.

Defensively, Aledo remained stalwart throughout the contest. McKean collected six more strikeouts in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings while the Ladycats played errorless defense behind her to keep the deficit at one run.

After McKean retired three of four Harlingen South batters in the top of the seventh inning, the Ladycats still had one more chance to either extend the game or walk it off. With two outs and momentum growing for the Lady Hawks, center fielder Jordyn Eddington blooped a double to right field that gave Aledo life and hope late in this state semifinal. Next, leadoff hitter Addie Perry beat the muffed throw from third to first for an infield single as Eddington rounded third base and raced for home plate. However, she was caught in a rundown between third base and home plate, ultimately getting tagged for the dramatic final out of the intense contest.

McKean went the distance for Aledo, giving up only one hit against six walks with 14 strikeouts. Marina Taveras, Pawlak, and Edington each recorded a hit for the Ladycats.

On the way back to state, Aledo (35-4, 12-0) won District 5-5A then took down Everman, Birdville, Joshua, Monterey, and Burleson Centennial to claim a well earned Region I crown. The Ladycats, led by head coach Heather Myers, outscored their district opposition by a margin of 128 runs. The game was originally supposed to be played at McCombs Field in Austin but was moved to East View High School due to weather-related concerns.


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