Lady Lions lock up Bi-District title
By LPR Staff
It took just over 90 minutes, and a mere five innings, for the Lady Lions to seize a Bi-District Championship in a run-rule over the San Antonio Highlands Owls last Thursday evening.
When the Owls took the first at-bat, things looked dicey for the Lady Lions. Back-to-back bunt singles allowed two O
wl batters to reach base, but the Lady Lions were able to catch their stride, never allowing a runner to advance past third.
In fact, when a threatening runner attempted to take the steal from third to home plate, catcher Brianna Capello teamed with third baseman Trinity Castillo to pick off what would have been a scoring run in a squeeze play at third.
Immediately afterward, pitcher Amanda White hurled two of 11 strikeouts on the night, stranding runners at first and second and putting the Lady Lions in control of the game.
Leadoff batter Alex Hedspeth set the tone for the Lady Lions in the first. After stretching an infield single into a double on a wild throw, Hedspeth stole on a shallow bunt off Katelyn Tull’s bat to advance to third. Tull followed up by stealing second, and then Merina Mills drew a walk to load the bases for the Lady Lions with no outs.
Batting cleanup, Capello pulled an infield single, and the Lady Lions were able to capitalize on Hedspeth’s athleticism and Tull’s speed to plate two runs, while advancing Mills to second. Pinch runner Keayra Velasquez came in at first for Capello. Power hitter Kendra Litchfield then drew a walk, loading the bases again.
White’s infield single brought Mills across the plate for a 3-0 Lady Lion lead.
In her first at-bat, Gracie Bell pulled a shallow outfield fly to score Velasquez once again loading the bases. Bella Ybarra took a sacrifice fly to score Litchfield, and put the Lady Lions up 5-0.
Back at the top of the lineup, Hedspeth sent a fly to center left, closing the inning with the Lady Lions on top of a strong lead.
White’s arm caught fire in the second, going three up and three down with a series of strikeouts.
The Lady Lions’ bats were quiet at the bottom of the second, as the team took three quick outs, but still maintained their 5-0 lead.
At the top of the third, the Lady Lion defense once again clamped down on the Owls, keeping their batters away from the plate and maintaining the shutout.
With two outs down in the bottom of the third, the Lady Lions caught fire.
With Bell and Destinee Mann on base, Hedspeth fired a stand-up double to the center-field wall to score Bell and Mann, and Tull followed up with a triple to bring Hedspeth home.
Mills found a hole in right-center field, bringing Tull home, and opening the Lady Lions’ lead to 9-0. Capello took a single, and then Litchfield drew another walk, loading the bases once again.
White took another infield single, pushing Mills across the plate for what would be the Lady Lion’s last run on the night.
In the fourth, White once again sent three batters up and down, but the Owls answered with strong defense, to keep the Lady Lions from scoring and creating a fourth-inning run-rule victory.
At their final at-bat, the Owls put two runners on base, once again on shallow bunts, but the Lady Lion defense stayed ready in the outfield, securing two outs in short order.
The game closed when Castillo stretched for a low-hanging foul just outside the third base line.
Overall on the night, Mills went 2-2 with an RBI and two runs scored and Tull was 2-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Mann went 2-3 with an RBI, and Bell was also 2-3 with an RBI and one run scored. Capello and Alex Hedspeth plated in two runs each.
While stacking up 11 strikeouts in the circle, White allowed only five infield hits.
The Lady Lions will face Bastrop Cedar Creek in the Area Championships in a Best-of-Three series this weekend.
Game 1 will be held at Lady Lion Stadium on Friday, May 6 at 7 p.m.
Game 2 is slated at Bastrop Cedar Creek on Saturday, May 7 at 4 p.m. The tie-breaking third game, if necessary, will follow, 30 minutes later, also in Cedar Creek.
The Post-Register will be on hand with live updates during the Area Playoff Series. Follow us on Facebook, or via Twitter @LKTPostRegister.