Win Keeps Slocum Second in District 21-AA
By Will Johnson
SLOCUM – The Slocum Lady Mustangs rode into Lovelady expecting an easy win over the Lovelady Lady Lions, who are having a down year by their lofty standards.
What they got was a dogfight until they the bitter end before they prevailed by a score of 8-4. The win keeps the Lady Mustangs a game behind the Grapeland Sandiettes in the quest for the District 21-AA Championship.
Tuesday’s game saw the Lady Mustangs jump ahead of the Lady Lions in the first inning. Amber Mikes was in the pitcher’s circle for Lovelady and she retired her pitching counterpart – Jalyn Fletcher – to lead off the game.
Courtney January was next up and she lined a single into center. She moved to third following walks to Jessi Ives and Taylor Clark. Briley Evers followed Clark’s walk with a single to right to drive in both January and Ives and give Slocum an early 2-0 lead.
The Lady Lions struck back in their half of the inning. After Fletcher retired lead-off batter Jacy Stubblefield, she gave up back-to-back singles to Mikes and Heather Elliott. Elliott crossed the plate when Sarah Thompson roped a double into right and made the score 2-1.
A quiet second gave way to a busy third as Slocum scored three times and Lovelady scored once which made it 5-2, after three.
Slocum’s runs came after two outs. Clark led off with a single and it looked like she might be stranded there after Evers popped up and Kara Cumby lined out to third.
Shelby Bowman, however, had different ideas as she doubled into left to advance Clark all the way to third. Bella McNeill followed with a double to plate Clark and move Bowman to third base. Laney Lasiter was up next and she singled into right to drive in Bowman and move McNeill to third.
Before the inning was over, McNeill would scamper home to make the score 5-1 after 3.5 innings.
The Lady Lions tacked on a run when they came to bat in the bottom of the third. Hannah York popped up to open the inning but was followed by a single from Stubblefield.
Elliott laid down a bunt that advanced Stubblefield all the way to third while she reached base safely. The next play saw the Lady Lions execute a delayed steal of home. Elliott made a break towards second and when the throw went down to second, Stubblefield broke for home. Elliott was tagged out but Stubblefield crossed the plate to cut the Slocum lead to 5-2.
The game remained this way until the bottom of the sixth when Lovelady cut the lead down to one run.
A single from Stubblefield, a double from Elliott and a double from Mikes brought the score to 5-4, with no outs and a runner on second.
Fletcher, to her credit, was able to regroup and get the next three batters she faced to work her way out of trouble with the Lady Mustangs clinging to a one run lead.
When Slocum came to bat in the top of the seventh, it was still anyone’s ballgame. By the time the third out was recorded, however, the Lady Mustangs had pushed their lead back to four.
Fletcher came out for the seventh and showed no lasting effects from the previous inning. She threw nine total pitches in the inning as she retired the side in order and hung on for the 8-4 win.
The Slocum win sets up a showdown for first place between the Lady Mustangs and the Grapeland Sandiettes on Saturday, April 14 at 4 p.m. in Slocum. If the Sandiettes win, they will be the outright District 21-AA Champions. If the Lady Mustangs win, they will tie the Sandiettes for first place with two games remaining. The Sandiettes won the first meeting between the two teams by a final score of 10-2.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.