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Prom dictates 3 p.m. start for Ladycats, Bearcats Friday playoff games

Aledo senior outfielder Kadyn Kirkpatrick watches a pitch during a Ladycats playoff game last week. The Ladycats and Bearcats will play Friday afternoon in respective playoff games. The Ladycats will take on Azle at 3 p.m. at Chisholm Trail High School in the opening game of a best-of-3 series, and the Bearcats will face Western Hills in a one-game bi-district playoff at 3 p.m. at Brock High School.

With the Aledo High School prom being held Friday night, both the Aledo Ladycats and Bearcats will play Friday afternoon playoff games.

Another reason for the Friday afternoon starts as opposed to tonight (Thursday) is a UIL mandate stating that no contests can be played the day of STARR testing. The last day of STARR testing this week is today.

The Bearcats will play a one-game bi-district baseball playoff series against Fort Worth Western Hills at 3 p.m. Friday (May 6) at Brock High School.

The Ladycats will face playoff rival Azle in a best-of-3 area playoff softball series, with all games being played at Chisholm Trail High School.

Game 1 will be at 3 p.m. Friday (May 6).

Game 2 will be at noon Saturday (May 7), with game 3 to follow if necessary.

The Ladycats have eliminated Azle from the playoffs the last two years in the regional final. The Ladycats are the runner-up from District 8-5A, and the state-ranked Lady Hornets are the District 5-5A champions.

First-year Ladycats head coach Heather Oakes feels the team gained confidence and had the opportunity to “work on some things” during their sweep of Fort Worth North Side last week in the opening round of the playoffs.

“Azle will be tough,” Oakes said. “They have a couple of pitchers (Samantha Bradley, Brooke Ledbetter) who are pretty good, and they definitely have some hitters. But I like the way our team is playing because they never quit. That is what I like about them. They don’t give up.”

Oakes feels her team’s bats came alive in the bi-district playoff series and hopes that continues against state-ranked No. 17 Azle.

“We gained confidence at the plate in (the bi-district playoff) series after hitting the ball a little more,” Oakes said. “We hit well in this series. We also got to work on bunting, and that is always nice to get that kind of work in during live action. It is hard to simulate that in practice.”

The winner of the Ladycats/Azle series will advance to the regional quarterfinals and face the winner of the Birdville/Joshua area playoff series.

The Bearcats were runner-up in District 8-5A and will face the third-place team from District 7-5A in Western Hills.

Bearcats head coach Chad Barry likes what he has seen with his hitting as the team enters post-season play. The Bearcats scored 12 runs on Granbury – a team that shut them out earlier in district play – and hung 13 runs on Cleburne in the 8-5A finale.

“The bats hopefully are waking up a bit,” Barry said. “It was nice to see us beat a couple of quality baseball teams, and beat them convincingly. We put together two good offensive and defensive games.  We will need to have that type of effort and consistency to get where we want to go.”

The winner of the Bearcats/Western Hills game will advance to the area playoffs and play the winner of the Wichita Falls Rider/Fort Worth Carter-Riverside bi-district playoff series.

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