Series Win Sends Lovelady to Regional Quarters
By Will Johnson
POLLOK – The last time the Lovelady Lady Lions were in the UIL Softball playoffs, they made it all the way to the Region III Finals, where they fell to the West Sabine Lady Tigers. Last year was wiped out by COVID-19 so fans didn’t get to see just how much Lovelady had improved.
Now, in 2021, the Lady Lions are back and they are on a mission. After only losing a total of three players to graduation since their playoff run in 2019, Lovelady destroyed their opponents in the regular season and so far in the postseason.
The Garrison Lady Bulldogs felt the power of the Lady Lions in the Bi-District Round as Lovelady won the three-game series by score of 10-1 and 16-1.
The Bi-District win sent them to the Area Round where they faced the Woden Lady Eagles in yet another three-game series. Game One saw the Lady Lions dominate at the plate and from the pitcher’s circle as Lovelady defeated Woden by a final score of 10-0.
With All-State pitcher Mimi Sandoval throwing a spectacular game on Friday evening, Coach Jordyn Hester sent Macie La Rue to the circle for Saturday morning’s contest.
Her Lovelady teammates staked her to a 4-0 lead before she ever threw her first pitch. After retiring the first two batters she faced, Larue gave up a solo homerun to cut the Lady Lions’ margin to 4-1.
That was as close as the Lady Eagles would get to making Game Two competitive. After Larue struck out the next Lady Eagle she faced to end the first inning, the Lady Lions erupted for five runs in the top of the second.
Bailee Albinus led off the inning with a pop-up to right while Scout Lovell followed with a single. Jacy Stubblefield moved Lovell to second with a bunt. On the play, Lovell was able to race to third while Stubblefield made it second.
Haven Prager lined a single into left to drive in Lovell and move Stubblefield to third. A double steal saw Stubblefield cross the plate to make the score 6-1.
Linda Martinez was up next and she roped a double into centerfield to bring in Prager from second. An infield single from Morgan Womack moved Martinez to third while a bloop single from Erin Sample loaded the bases.
Makenna Pierce was up next and lofted a fly ball to center which allowed Martinez to tag up and score. With Rylee Biedrzycki at the plate, a wild pitch brought Morgan Womack across the dish and while Biedrzycki grounded out on the next pitch, the Lady Lions had all but put the game away as they led 9-1 after the top half of the second.
LaRue struck out the side in bottom half of the frame and when the Lions came in from the field, the offensive barrage continued as they added four more runs to their total.
Albinus, Lovell and Stubblefield all singled to open the top of the third. Prager hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Albinus while a wild pitch allowed Lovell to scamper home. Martinez drew a walk while Womack hit into a fielder’s choice which allowed Stubblefield to race home while Martinez moved to second. An error on a Sample grounder gave Martinez the opportunity to score and when she crossed the plate, Lovelady led 13-1.
After Pierce lined out to short, LaRue went back to the circle where she enjoyed her second straight three up, three down inning.
The Lady Lions added a pair of runs to their lead in the top of the fifth on a wild pitch that brought in Biedrzycki from third and a double from Prager which drove in Lovell.
In the bottom of the fourth, LaRue gave up a lead off single but struck out the next batter she faced. A double put runners on second and third with only one out, but LaRue didn’t flinch as she struck out the next two batters to send the game into the fifth.
Lovelady tacked on its final run of the game when Sample singled, stole second and third and jogged home when Pierce flew out deep center, making the score 16-1.
LaRue retired the side in order in the bottom of the fifth as the game was called because of the run-rule.
The series win sends the Lady Lions to the Regional Quarterfinals where they will face the Joaquin Lady Rams. The two teams will play a three-game series beginning on Thursday, May 13 at 6pm. Game Two is scheduled for Friday, May 14 at 4 pm and Game Three, if needed, is scheduled for Saturday, May 15 at 12 pm. All games will be played at Rusk High School.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.