Lovelady Crushes Cushing in Bi-District

Sandoval near Perfect in 10-0 Win

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

NACOGDOCHES – Finally! It’s playoff time and the area softball girls have worked all year to reach this point in the season. The Lovelady Lady Lions made their 2019 postseason debut on Thursday, April 25 against the Cushing Gal Kats and things could not have gone much better.

The Lady Lions walloped the Gal Kats by a final of 10-0, thanks in large part to the pitching and hitting of Mimi Sandoval. The freshman right-hander pitched five innings of near perfect softball and hit a grand slam as part of a seven RBI night.

Lovelady jumped out ahead of Cushing in the first inning and never looked back. Jacy Stubblefield led off the game for the Lady Lions and bunted her way aboard. She stole second and moved to third on an error.

Makayla White was up next and hit into a fielder’s choice. Stubblefield was thrown out as she tried to score, but Linda Martinez followed with a base hit into center. White took third on the play and Martinez coasted into second on the throw.

Sandoval was up next in the batting order and she ripped a single into left field to drive in White and Martinez as Lovelady took an early 2-0 lead. Shyanne Pipkin came into to run for Sandoval and moved to second when Amber Mikes walked. A passed ball allowed the runners to advance while Erin White loaded the bases with an infield single.

Bailee Albinus followed Sample in the batting order and Cushing pitcher Kathryn Carpenter got a gift when Albinus popped up to shallow right. The Gal Kats’ Hailey Gordon made the catch and doubled up Sample at first to end the Lovelady threat.

When Sandoval took the circle, she showed no mercy. She struck out both Zoe Dawson and Carpenter for two quick outs. Then, Melody Duncan grounded into a 5-3 force to end the inning on Sandoval’s 15th pitch.

The Lady Lions’ offense caught fire when they came in from the field as they pounded out seven runs. Rylee Biedrzycki drew a walk to open the inning and moved to second on a Maci LaRue single. Stubblefield was up next and walked to load the bases.

A pop up from White allowed Biedrycki the chance to tag up and score. Martinez reached on an error to re-load the bases and set the table for Sandoval.

On a 0-1 count, Carpenter threw a pitch she probably wishes she could have back. It was a breaking ball that didn’t break and Sandoval pounced on it with a blast over the center field fence for a grand slam, which made the score 7-0.

Mikes was up next and reached first on a dropped third strike. While Sample popped up for the second out, Albinus atoned for hitting into a first inning double play. On a 2-2 count, Albinus turned on a Carpenter pitch and deposited it over the center field fence to make the score 9-0.

Carpenter finally managed to get out of the inning, but things only got worse for the Gal Kats. Sandoval needed only 12 pitches to strike out the Cushing batting order in the bottom of the second. She got Kaitlyn Hyett to chase strike three, caught Bailey Burt looking at a called third strike and then froze Lauren Spire on her 12th pitch to ring up the fifth strikeout of the six batters she faced so far.

The Lady Lions opened the top of the third with back-to-back singles from Stubblefield and White. After Martinez flew out, the two baserunners executed a double steal to put themselves in scoring position.

The move paid off as Sandoval singled past third to plate Stubblefield and make the score 10-0. Carpenter finally seemed to find her groove after the 10th run but it appeared to be too late. She struck out Mikes and coaxed a pop up from Sample to end the inning.

While Carpenter seemed to have found her rhythm, Sandoval continued to mow down the Cushing batters. She struck out Madison Wright, Hailey Gordon and Ashlee Brandon to retire the side and send the game into the fourth inning.

While the Lady Lions loaded the bases, they were unable to extend their lead in the top of the fourth inning. Cushing, however, finally got a baserunner when Sandoval nicked Dawson with a pitch. It was to no avail for the Gal Kats, unfortunately, as Sandoval struck out the side to send the game into the fifth inning.

The Lady Lions went quietly in the top of the inning and when Sandoval struck out the side in the bottom of the fifth, the game was called due to the 10-run mercy rule.

Sandoval picked up the win in five innings. She did not give up a hit and only allowed one baserunner on a HBP. In addition, Sandoval struck out 13 of the 16 batters she faced. At the plate she was equally as effective as she went 3-4 with a run scored, hit a grand slam and had seven total RBI.

Carpenter took the loss in five innings. She gave up 10 runs on 12 hits, struck out two and walked four. She also gave up two long balls – one to Sandoval and one to Albinus.

The win moves the Lady Lions into the Area Round of the playoffs, where they will face the Big Sandy Lady Wildcats. The date, time and place of the area game has not yet been determined.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].

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