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Darn Near Perfect!

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LaRue Pitches One Hitter as Lady Lions Dismantle Beckville, 12-0

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

RUSK – To say Macie LaRue has been on fire in the postseason would be an understatement. So far in the UIL Class 2A Softball Playoffs, Lovelady’s senior righthander had only given up given three runs through four games and only allowed seven hits heading into Wednesday evening’s Regional Quarterfinal contest against the Beckville.

In the opening game of the best-of-three series, LaRue bolstered her stats and staked the Lady Lions to a 1-0 series lead as she was as close to perfect in the circle as she could get without actually throwing a perfect game. She worked five innings, only yielded one hit, struck out eight Lady Bearcats, didn’t walk anyone and faced one batter over the minimum in Lovelady’s 12-0 blowout win.   

Reese Dudley led off the game for Beckville and struck out, setting the tone for the remainder of the contest. Lexi Barr followed with a fly ball out to Shyanne Pipkin in center while Bethany Grandgeorge also flew out to Pipkin, bringing Lovelady in from the field.

While LaRue has cast a big shadow, the Lovelady offense has been equally as effective. Through the first four games of the postseason, the Lady Lions have scored 37 runs and the Lovelady offense didn’t waste any time as they cranked up in the first inning.

Mihyia Davis led off with a single and promptly stole second. Scout Lovell sacrificed her to third and when Grandgeorge threw a wild pitch, Davis raced home to give Lovelady a 1-0 lead. Haven Prager was up next and lined a shot into centerfield that was mishandled for an error, allowing Prager to motor over to third on the miscue.

Linda Martinez was up next and drew a walk. With Rylee Biedrzycki at the plate, Martinez stole second. A second wild pitch allowed Prager to score from third while Martinez took her place at the hot corner.

Biedrzycki bunted out which brought LaRue to the plate. She hit a shot to short that was booted which allowed Martinez to cross the plate. That was all the Lady Lions would get in their first at-bat but at the end of one, Lovelady had seized a 3-0 lead.

The only blemish on LaRue’s stellar night occurred in the top of the second as she gave up a lead-off single to Kaitlyn Tillman. After that, she was lights out as she caught McKinna Chamness looking at strike three, while both Alex English and Natalie Pelzl went down swinging.

The Lady Lions were back at it again in the bottom half of the second. After Pipkin popped out to first, Davis singled up the middle. She stole second and then swiped third. When Beckville’s catcher attempted to catch Davis stealing third, the throw sailed into left field, allowing Davis to trot home to make the score 4-0.

After Lovell flew out to left, Prager singled into right. She came around to score when Martinez smoked a pitch down the third base line. A double to the gap in left center by Biedrzycki moved Martinez to third and another wild pitch allowed her to score while Biedrzycki moved over to third. She wasn’t there long, however, as LaRue laced a single into right, driving in Biedrzycki and making the score 7-0.

Following a Kinzie Seale groundout, LaRue returned to the circle and struck out both Amber Harris and Kiara Willis to open the inning. The next batter was Dudley and she flew out to end the Lady Cats half of the third.

Bailee Albinus led off the bottom of the frame for Lovelady and reached on a well-placed bunt. Pipkin popped up but Davis followed with a single. Lovell fanned for the second out which brought Prager to the plate.

Prager has been red-hot in the playoffs and had homered in each of the last three games. You can now make it four. On a 2-2 pitch, she hit a rocket over the fence in left center to make the score 10-0.

After the Prager bomb, Beckville went to its bullpen but it was too late. The Lady Lions would add two more runs in fourth and when LaRue retired the side in the top of the fifth, the game was called because of the 10-run mercy rule.

The two teams were back at it on Saturday but a final score was not available as of press time.

 Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.

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