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Ladycats state bound again

Third appearance in four years


BURLESON – The Aledo Ladycats are going to Austin to compete in the Class 5A State Softball Tournament following a 12-7 win over Burleson Centennial on Thursday, May 23, to complete the sweep and capture the Region 1 Championship.

It’s the third time in four seasons for head coach Heather Myers’ program, having also gone in 2021 and 2022 and reaching the title game in 2021.

Aledo (35-3) will play Harlingen South (35-4) at 1 p.m. in the state semifinals on Friday, May 31. The winner of that game will face the winner between Melissa (36-2-1) and Lake Belton (40-4) in the championship game set for Saturday, June 1 at 1 p.m. All games will be played at Red & Charline McCombs Field in Austin.

Aledo held the advantage throughout, but a five-run bottom of the sixth inning by Centennial (32-9) that was capped off by a three-run homer cut the Ladycat lead to just one run, 8-7, heading into the final frame. 

“I made a really bad pitch call on that three-run shot,” Myers admitted after the game. “That was my fault. I take full responsibility, 100 percent. I made a bad pitch call, she took advantage of it, and it got them right back in this game.”

As the Ladycats made their way to the dugout for the top of the seventh inning with the home crowd cheering at a fever pitch, Myers knew her team was fully capable of quieting them back down.

“Basically, what I told them was, it’s not over,” Myers recalled. “We’ve been scoring every inning, except for one, and we need to go get those runs back.”

With the seven, eight, and nine spots in the lineup coming to the plate for Aledo, Myers stressed the importance of remaining disciplined in their approach at the plate. Kennis Marx found herself in the optimal hitter’s count, 3-1, as she melted a belt-high fastball over the fence in left-center to lead off the inning.

Stepping to the plate with a little breathing room and a 9-7 lead, Taylor McKean took a couple of pitches that sailed wide of the strike zone. With the 2-0 pitch on the way, McKean crushed a deep line drive that cleared the fence in center, as the first two Ladycats went back-to-back with home runs to start the inning, quieting the home crowd in the process.

Three batters later, Delaney Rosser earned her way aboard the hard way after she was plunked by a pitch. With two outs in the inning and a runner on, Ana Flores belted the 1-1 offering to straight away center. The ball made a long arch before crashing into the scoreboard with a bang as the Aledo crowd erupted in celebration.

Holding a five-run cushion heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Ladycats put the Lady Spartans away in order to seal their trip to the state tournament.

Regional final, Game 1

After nearly a two-hour rain delay to start the game, the Aledo Ladycats opened the best-of-three series for the Class 5A Region 1 title against Burleson Centennial with a 2-0 win on Wednesday, May 22. 

“Something we talk about all the time is winning each inning, winning each pitch, and not taking anybody for granted,” Myers said after the game. “Anybody can have a great game. Luck favors the prepared. I’m confident, don’t get me wrong. But we’re never going to go to sleep on any team.”

Senior left-hander, Brenlee Gonzales continued to dominate inside the circle for Aledo, pitching a complete-game shutout. Gonzales threw 98 pitches with 72 landing for strikes on her way to striking out 11 Lady Spartans. Centennial was only able to muster four base hits off the Texas Tech commit.

Aledo scored both of their runs in the bottom of the second inning. Kyleigh Pawlak smashed a one-out fly ball to deep right field that found a green patch before bouncing off the outfield fence. Pawlak cruised around the bases and slid safely into third for a triple. 

Gonzales managed to put a ball in play in hopes of scoring the opening run from third. The ground ball snuck by the third baseman allowing Pawlak to score on the error as Gonzales reached first safely. 

Grace Heath came in as the courtesy runner for Gonzales. Kennis Marx hit a deep fly ball to right that ended up being caught. In spite of being caught for an out, the ball was still hit deep enough to allow Heath to tag up and advance to second, moving into scoring position. 

Rylee Marx came to the dish with two away. She hit a grounder to second that she was able to beat out on her way to first. Aggressive base running by the Ladycats not only allowed Heath to move over to third, but to score on the play as the Lady Spartans were caught off guard.

Class 5A Region I final

Aledo 2, Burleson Centennial 0 - May 22

                                          R H E

Centennial 000 000 0 - 0  4  1

Aledo         020 000 x - 2  6  1

Aledo hitting: Addie Perry 2-for-3; Kyleigh Pawlak 2-for-3, 3B; Brenlee Gonzales 1-for-3, 2B, RBI; Rylee Marx 1-for-2, RBI.

Aledo pitching: Gonzales 7 IP, 4 H, 11 K, 0 BB.

Aledo 12, Centennial - May 23

                                       R  H  E

Aledo           121 202 4 - 12  15 1

Centennial 200 005 0 -  7   8   1  

Aledo hitting: Perry 3-for-5, HR, 2 RBI; Ana Flores 3-for-5, 2-2B, HR, 4 RBI; Marina Tavares 2-for-5, RBI; Pawlak 2-for-4, RBI; Kennis Marx 2-for-4, HR, RBI; Taylor McKean 2-for-3, HR, HP, 2 RBI; Gonzales 1-for-3, 3B, BB, RBI; Delaney Rosser BB, 2 HP.

Aledo pitching: Gonzales 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 K, 0 BB; McKean 5.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 5 K, 2 BB.


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