GRAFORD — When it was needed most, the Brownwood offense roared back to life, and the defending Region I-4A champion Lady Lions are headed to the area round of the playoffs.
After scoring just two runs over a 25-inning stretch, the No. 14 Lady Lions homered twice and used a six-run third to spark their 9-2 victory over Burkburnett Saturday night in Game 3 of a Region I-4A bi-district playoff series.
The Lady Lions were no-hit in a 4-1 Game 1 loss to Burkburnett Thursday night, answered with a no-hitter from Chyanne Ellett in a 1-0 Game 2 victory Friday night, then Ellett launched a two-run homer and tossed a two-hitter with 17 strikeouts to extend Brownwood’s season.
“These girls are pretty resilient,” said Lady Lions head coach Jessica Lynn. “I always refer back to last year where we got down a few times and always fought back. We have a lot of the same girls from last year and when they get their backs to the wall they’re going to fight. They really came out strong the last two games.”
Brownwood wasted little time seizing the momentum in the series finale as three batters into the game, the Lady Lions owned a 2-0 advantage. Ayanna Clemons led off with a double to center field off Jocelyn Bright, who pitched the first two games for Burkburnett. Then, with one out, Ellett blasted an opposite field home run to right field — one of 10 hits for Brownwood — to give the Lady Lions the lead.
“The girls did a real good job of coming out on fire,” Lynn said. “Getting those two runs in the first inning was huge, especially the way we got them. They were determined to get this win and move on to the next round, and it was good to see the offense come back to life.”
Burkburnett shaved Brownwood’s lead in half, 2-1, in the bottom of the first, but the Lady Lions answered with six runs in the third to put the game out of reach.
Annie Gillispie and Ellett both singled, then Victoria Sanchez laid down a bunt and reached on an error to load the sacks with no outs. Emily Perez lined out to right field for the first out, but an errant throw back into the infield allowed Gillispie to score Brownwood’s third run.
Alexis Larrea then slapped a two-RBI single up the middle that scored Ryleigh Dalleh, running for Ellett, and Sanchez, to increase the advantage to 5-1. Kayla McFarden followed with a single then, with two outs, freshman catcher Ashlynn Patteson drilled her second home run of the season, a three-run shot to left field that extended Brownwood’s lead to 8-1.
“It’s good when your No. 9 hole hitter can get you a three-run home run,” Lynn said. “We needed some insurance runs, so that was huge.”
Burkburnett (23-9) tacked on its second and final run in the bottom of the third. Over its final four trips to the plate, Burkburnett managed just three base runners — on two walks and a single — and struck out 11 times.
“Chyanne came out ready to do and determined to get this win,” Lynn said. “She had a game plan and I felt like she executed it really well.”
Ellett, Clemons, Larrea and McFarden each recorded two hits for Brownwood while Gillispie and Patteson added one each.
The 5-4A co-champion Lady Lions (26-5) will face Stephenville (25-4) next weekend in the area round of the playoffs.