No. 16 Brownwood earns eighth straight win, improves to 18-2
Despite being placed in perhaps the toughest Class 4A softball district in the state, the No. 16 Brownwood Lady Lions continued their winning ways in Tuesday afternoon's 5-4A opener.
After surrendering the first two runs, the Lady Lions roared back to post a 5-2 victory over the Abilene Wylie Lady Bulldogs — the eighth consecutive triumph for head coach Jessica Lynn's squad.
“We didn't have our best stuff today, but we battled and found a way to win and good teams do that,” Lynn said. “This feels so much better than last year when we lost the first three games.”
The Lady Lions overcame an 0-3 league start last season to win the Region I-4A championship and make their second appearance at the state tournament. En route to Austin, the Lady Lions ousted Wylie in the regional quarterfinals, Big Spring in the regional semifinals and Snyder in the regional championship round — all of which are in Brownwood's district this season.
Brownwood had rallied from an eight-run deficit earlier this season to knock off Wylie, 12-8, at the Brock tournament, and pieced together another comeback Tuesday.
Sparked by the bottom of the batting order, the Lady Lions (18-2, 1-0) generated four runs in the bottom of the third inning, and added an insurance run in the fourth after Wylie (14-7, 0-1) had tallied single runs in the top of the second and third innings.
The Lady Lions finished with seven hits off Wylie pitcher Kamwren Jackson, led by three from freshman catcher Ashlynn Patteson, who doubled twice, drove in a run and scored once out of the nine hole. No. 8 batter Danyelle Gongora, the Lady Lions' left fielder, recorded a single, walked once and scored a pair of runs.
“I was really pleased to see them come through and set us up with that big inning,” Lynn said. “They've both been hitting well coming in and they both have a lot of confidence. They've got some speed so that's helped set up the top of the lineup.”
Also contributing to the Lady Lions' effort were Chyanne Ellett with a two-RBI single and Emily Perez and Ayanna Clemons with RBI singles.
In the circle, Ellett overcame a shaky start that included four walks — including two that resulted in Wylie's runs — as she tossed a two-hitter with seven strikeouts and five base runners stranded.
“Chyanne definitely didn't have her best stuff today but she battled,” Lynn said. “She eventually found some stuff that was working. She didn't get as many strikeouts as usual, but a ground out or a fly out is as good as a strikeout.”
Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the third, Brownwood's rally began with a line drive single up the middle by Gongora. Patteson followed with a double into center field that put runners on second and third base with no outs. Clemons then closed the gap to 2-1 on an RBI infield single that plated Gongora.
Ellett put the Lady Lions ahead for good with a line drive, two-RBI single down the third base line that drove in Patteson and Clemons. Leading 3-2, Perez contributed an RBI single to left field that brought home Clemons.
Brownwood tacked on a fifth run in the fourth inning as Gongora drew a 10-pitch walk with one out, which was followed by an RBI double to left field by Patteson that narrowly missed clearing the wall.
Once the Lady Lions grabbed the lead in the third inning, Ellett allowed just one Wylie base runner the rest of the way.
Early on, the Lady Bulldogs were able to capitalize on Ellett being off the mark.
Wylie took a 1-0 advantage in the top of the second as Hailey Russell walked with one out and Halle Arberila reached on a two-out free pass, then a two-out Brownwood error allowed Russell to come home with the first run.
The Lady Bulldogs built a 2-0 lead in the top of the third as Kaylee Phillip walked and scored on an RBI single by Bre Parks, but Wylie's offense stalled the rest of the way.
The Lady Lions will shoot for a 2-0 start to district and a ninth straight win at 5 p.m. Friday when Sweetwater (13-5, 0-0) — which had its first 5-4A bye Tuesday — comes calling.