The No. 10 Brownwood Lady Lions are making life miserable for the Abilene Wylie Lady Bulldogs in District 5-4A softball action.
After scoring four runs in their final at-bat to knock off Wylie in the district opener, the Lady Lions erased a five-run deficit for a 6-5 walk-off victory at home Thursday to begin the second half of league play.
Brownwood's comeback, coupled with last-place Snyder's first district victory over Big Spring, 4-3, Thursday, results in the Lady Lions (18-4-1, 4-1) reclaiming sole possession of first place in the league standings.
“Everybody on the team contributed in one way or another,” Lady Lions head coach Jessica Lynn said of the improbable victory. “It felt like a complete team win because everybody did something. I was very proud of them.”
The Lady Lions faced a 5-0 deficit heading to the bottom of the fourth inning, and still trailed 5-3 when the bottom of the inning arrived.
Brownwood's half of the seventh began with first baseman Ryleigh Dalleh's double to the right-center field gap off Wylie (9-11, 2-3) pitcher Kaylee Phillip. Dalleh advanced to third base on a wild pitch ahead of a two-strike RBI bloop single into center field by left fielder Mya McDowell, the No. 9 batter in the Lady Lions' order.
“It was good to see because they struggled the first couple of at-bats,” Lynn said of Dalleh and McDowell. “Both of them had seen a lot of pitches, they just couldn't find a hole. It was good to see them string both of those hits together and get runners on for the top of the lineup. I knew if we could get there with one out or no outs we had a great to chance to at least tie it up or possibly win it.”
Leadoff batter Annie Gillispie, the Brownwood shortstop, was then intentionally walked which put the go-ahead run on first base with still no outs in the inning. A passed ball then moved McDowell to third and Gillispie to second before catcher Ashlynn Patteson stepped to the plate with one out.
After fouling off the first strike, Patteson drilled the game-winning double into almost the identical location of Dalleh's hit to start the frame.
“That was clutch,” Lynn said of Patteson's game winner. “She's been hitting really good this year so I moved her up to No. 3 in the order. She's been really solid, finds the gaps a lot and she has a lot of confidence in herself and it showed. She went up there fearlessly and swinging, just looking for a good pitch.”
The Lady Lions began to chip away at Wylie's lead with three runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Second baseman Aubrie Harris began the inning with a single down the right field line, then Patteson beat out an infield single to shortstop, while a late, errant throw to the bag allowed Harris to score Brownwood's first run. With one out, Ayanna Clemons walked and later moved to second, as Patteson was occupying third base following the error.
With two outs and facing a two-strike count, right fielder Landry Holden sliced a two-RBI single into right field, plating Patteson and Clemons and stealing the momentum away from Wylie.
“Getting those three runs gave us some momentum and confidence,” Lynn said. “I could tell they were down because we were down by five and that hasn't happened very many times. We just needed to string some stuff together to get some confidence and once we do that, we play a lot better and more aggressively.”
Wylie chalked up one run in the top of the first inning and two apiece in the third and fourth innings to seize control, 5-0.
Phillip started the game with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice and scored on an RBI sacrifice fly by Lilly New.
In the third, Phillip again led off with a double and Keetyn Davis reached on a fielder's choice as Phillip beat the throw to third. Phillip later scored on a wild pitch and Halle Arbilera singled home Davis.
Wylie's lead reached five runs in the fourth as Lilly Garcia and Shelby Russell began the frame with back-to-back singles, then Phillip tripled home both runners with one out.
“When it was 5-0 I was thinking what's going on?,” Lynn said. “It looked like Chyanne (Ellett) was struggling a little to find the strike zone with pitches in the first couple of innings. Offensively we were doing better, we weren't striking out as much early in the game as we did the first time against them. We were putting the ball in play so I knew it was just a matter of time before we started stringing some hits together. We needed Chyanne to find her rhythm and her pitches and she did eventually and did much better in the later innings.”
Ellett went the distance and gave up five earned runs on seven hits with nine strikeouts and two walks.
At the plate, Brownwood's nine-hit attack featured two each from Harris and Patteson and one apiece from Gillispie, Holden, Dalleh, McDowell and Yisel Mendoza. Patteson and Holden tallied two RBIs apiece and McDowell added one.
The Lady Lions are back in action at 5 p.m Tuesday at Sweetwater (13-6, 2-2), which Brownwood defeated by a 4-2 count in the first half of league play.