Ellett tosses two-hitter with 14 strikeouts, drives in two
Just two games into the 5-4A softball schedule, the Brownwood Lady Lions find themselves alone atop the district standings following their ninth consecutive victory.
On Friday, the 16th-ranked Lady Lions posted their first shutout against a district foe, knocking off the Sweetwater Lady Mustangs, 6-0, at Lady Lion Field.
With the win, Brownwood improved to 19-2 for the season and 2-0 in league action. Also Friday, Abilene Wylie upended Big Spring, 2-1, which means every team in 5-4A other than Brownwood now has one district loss.
The Lady Lions' first 5-4A bye falls Tuesday, then Brownwood welcomes Big Spring (13-10, 1-1) at 5 p.m. Friday in their third consecutive district home outing.
Against Sweetwater (12-6, 0-1) Friday, Chyanne Ellett hurled a two-hit shutout for the Lady Lions, striking out 14 batters while walking a pair.
“(Chyanne) came out ready to go today and her stuff was moving a lot better than it was on Tuesday,” said Lady Lions head coach Jessica Lynn, referring to four early walks that led to a pair of runs in the 5-2 district-opening victory over Abilene Wylie. “You could see that she looked a little more relaxed and you could see in her pitches that they were doing what they were supposed to be doing. She did great, I think she was just trying too hard on Tuesday.”
Offensively, the Lady Lions scored in just two innings, collecting three runs each in the second and sixth frames.
“If we're only going to score in two innings, we need to score more than one run in each inning,” Lynn said. “The only thing I could find bad about the game is only scoring in two innings. We need to score in at least half the innings we play.”
Brownwood tallied 11 hits and drew two walks, but left seven runners stranded on base. Ellett and third baseman Ayanna Clemons finished with two hits and two RBIs apiece, while left fielder Danyelle Gongora singled twice and drove in a run. Right fielder Emily Perez tripled, center fielder Kayla McFarden doubled, designated player Alexis Larrea both doubled and singled, and second baseman Annie Gillispie chipped in a single.
Sweetwater's Kara Lehnert started and went five innings, allowing three runs on nine hits with a pair of strikeouts. Nine of Brownwood's outs against Lehnert were the result of pop ups.
“A lot of it was we were out in front a little bit, we were getting under the ball,” Lynn said of the pop ups. “A couple of times they were higher pitches we popped up, but for the most part we were getting out in front, dropping our hands and popping up the ball.”
Brownwood's damage against Lehnert came in the bottom of the second as Perez led off with a triple down the right field line, then an errant throw into the dugout — one of two miscues in the field by Sweetwater — allowed Perez to score the only run the Lady Lions needed.
Larrea followed with a double into center field, then McFarden doubled to right field but Larrea had to hold up at third base. Gongora's RBI single plated Larrea, but Gongora was thrown out at second base trying to advance. McFarden later came home on an RBI line drive single up the middle by Clemons.
Hannah Mobley pitched the final inning for the Lady Mustangs and gave up three runs — one earned — on two hits and a pair of walks.
The Brownwood sixth featured a one-out walk by McFarden followed by a Gongora single and a walk from Ashlynn Patteson, which loaded the bases. Clemons then reached on an error by the shortstop, which allowed McFarden to score. With two outs, Ellett singled up the middle to plate Patteson and Clemons with the final runs.
“We needed that cushion so we could relax a little,” Lynn said. “And again it was the bottom of our lineup getting on base and the top of the lineup getting them in. The bottom of our lineup has done a good job starting rallies.”
For Sweetwater, Kaci Webb singled with two outs in the third inning and Sonora Medellin followed with a walk, but both were left stranded. Anna Espinoza led off with a walk in the fifth, while Bri Moniel added a one-out base hit in the seventh to account for the Lady Mustang base runners.