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Lady Lions fall in thrilling series

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By LPR Staff

Editor/POST-REGISTER

 

In what amounted to an historic defensive series, the Lady Lions fell in three games to the Cedar Creek Eagles this weekend.

The veteran Eagles, who will graduate nine seniors in May, pushed the Lady Lions to their physical and mental limits during a grueling three-game series marked by extra innin

gs, multiple lead-changes and high-caliber varsity play.

The Lady Lions came into the series on a hot streak, having lost only one game since the beginning of District play in February, earning a District Championship in a high-powered showdown with the San Marcos Lady Rattlers, and earning their Bi-District Championship in a run rule victory over the San Antonio Highlands Owls.

Confidence was high as the Lady Lions drew home-field advantage in the first game of the three-game series, appearing at Lady Lion Field before a capacity crowd.

The Lady Lions took the early lead in Game One, after Alex Hedspeth fired a single through a hole in the left. The Lady Lions kept the pressure on Cedar Creek’s pitcher, and Kendra Litchfield singled to score Hedspeth.

The Lady Lions played strong defense to maintain their lead until the fifth, when a stand-up double to center field scored the tying run for the Eagles. For five more innings, pitchers, fielders and hitters traded blows, but neither team was able to plate another run, until the top of the tenth, when Cedar Creek’s leadoff batter slammed a triple to the right field wall, and the next batter drew a single to give the Eagles their first lead of the night.

Leading off for the Lady Lions, Litchfield drew a walk, which Amanda

White followed up with a shallow bunt that got her on base. Gracie Bell came to the plate and advanced White on another bunt, but Litchfield was picked off at third.

White and Bell were both able to steal on a passed ball, bringing senior Destinee Mann to the plate. Her walk-off double pushed White and Bell across the plate, securing the win for the Lady Lions in ten innings.

White took the win on the plate on Friday, striking out seven batters, walking three and surrendering 12 hits and only two runs on the night.

 

Fresh and ready for the fight, the Lady Lions traveled to Cedar Creek, bringing with them another capacity crowd of Lady Lion fans for the second game of the series.

Once again, the Lady Lions jumped out early, this time, when Bell powered a solo home run over the left field wall. In the second, the Lady Lions pushed another run over the plate, when Mann scored from a single by Brianna Capello.

History repeated itself as the Eagles came to life in the fifth, pushing three runs across the plate in a wild inning full of controversial calls that worked to Cedar Creek’s advantage, and allowed the Eagles to take a 3-2 lead.

In the sixth, White singled Bell in from second base, and the Lady Lions scored two more runs in the seventh, reclaiming the lead when Litchfield fired a shot over the left field wall, and Capello and Bell logged back-to-back doubles to put the Lady Lions back on top of a 5-3 score.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Eagles sent two more runners across the plate, tying the score at five and setting the game up for extra innings.

In the eighth, the Lady Lions’ bats were quiet, and the Eagles were able to plate one more run, edging the 6-5 victory and forcing Game Three.

Like the two games that came before, Game Three of the series was a brutal battle marked by nearly bulletproof defense on both sides.

The Lady Lions jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the third, when Katelyn Tull scored on a stand-up double to right-center from Hedspeth. The Eagles answered back with three runs in the bottom of the third.

In the fifth, Mann fired a triple to the left field wall and Capello drove a single through the middle of the infield to bring her home.

In the sixth, senior Ileana Gonzales tied the score, and finished her final at-bat of the season by firing a solo home run over the left field fence.

True to the series fashion, though, the Eagles found a way to counter scoring the game’s final two runs with a troublesome infield single with two outs that would prove to be the series winning hit.

“What a great series,” Head Coach Katy Snell said. “That type of play by both teams resembled a regional final or state atmosphere. It’s a shame that one team had to go home so early. Everyone is so proud of our girls. They never gave up, or counted themselves out of any game. A series like that can do wonders for our team. They’ve played in the big games this year and came away with victories. We know what it takes and will be back next year stronger than ever.”

District 27-5A cannot yet release All-District selections, as the San Marcos Rattlers remain in the playoff hunt. The Post-Register will announce the Lady Lions’ All-District honors when they become available.

Known as a young team from the start of the season, the Lady Lions will bid farewell to only four seniors this season. Litchfield, the catcher, has signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Texas at Dallas. Mann’s graduation will leave a hole at second base. Relief pitcher Moira Salinas and Gonzales, a Designated Player, will also graduate this spring.

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