With a roster that consisted of just nine players for most of the day, the Brownwood Lady Lions competed in five straight games — winning four — and played for better than 10 hours continuously Sunday before falling in the second championship game of the Texas Teen-Age Softball High School Eligible State Tournament at the Camp Bowie Sports Complex.
Brownwood’s gutsy performance — which tested the stamina of every player suited up — included victories over the Mabank Thunder, the Jim Ned Elite, the Hubbard Lady Jags and the Bosqueville Lady Dawgs — who knocked the Lady Lions into the losers’ bracket with a 5-2 triumph late Saturday night.
But the Lady Lions got some revenge, 4-2, thanks to Kerri Jones’ two-run home run with one out in the top of the seventh inning that scored herself and Kate Atchley and forced the second championship game.
Atchley — who filled in on the rubber for the ailing Kaitlin Sliger — was a workhouse for Brownwood as she earned each of the Lady Lions’ victories and pitched all but the final inning Sunday.
Brownwood ran out of gas in the second title game as Bosqueville rebounded to claim the TTAS state title with a 6-4 victory. However, the run made by the Lady Lions will be remembered much longer than the result of the final contest.
In the first championship game, the Lady Lions jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning as Atchley — who reached on an infield single — scored following a Jones base hit and a Bosqueville error. Vicky McAnear later plated Jones with an RBI sacrifice fly.
But Bosqueville turned around and answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third to force a 2-2 tie. Catherine Hunt singled home Ashton Feight, who double with two outs, then an error on the same play allowed Hunt to race home.
Brownwood pulled out the win when Atchley singled to left field with one out in the seventh, and Jones powered a drive off Rebekah Robles over the fence in left-center.
Bosqueville struck first in the second game, posting its first run in the bottom of the third as Shelbi Cawthon doubled home Robles, who led off with a single off Atchley.
Brownwood responded with a run in the top of the fourth to pull even as Mallorie Maxwell doubled with one out, then scored when McAnear reached on an error.
The Lady Dawgs regained a 2-1 advantage in the bottom of the fourth as Robles’ RBI infield single plated Feight, who started the inning with a walk.
Bosqueville then padded its lead with four runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Ashley Barnes led off with a single and scored on a Grace Getman’s RBI fielder’s choice, then Feight’s RBI ground out scored Cawthon, who reached on an infield single.
Winning pitcher Meg Ruhter then helped her cause by launching a two-run home run to deep left field that scored herself and Getman.
Trailing 6-1, Brownwood shaved two runs off the deficit in the sixth inning as Sayla Parsons’ two-out, two-RBI double drove in Lauren Dees and Neelie Darden.
Brownwood added another run in the top of the seventh as Ashley Salazar singled home Jones, who tripled, but the Lady Lions could not complete the comeback.
Brownwood 10, Hubbard 0
Brownwood reached the championship round with a 10-0, five-inning victory over Hubbard.
Jones and Darden were both 2-for-3 with an RBI, McAnear knocked in two runs and Salazar scored three.
Atchley fanned seven batters and gave up just three hits — including two to Jordan Chrisley, who recorded a double and a triple. Sara Fletcher had Hubbard’s other hit.
Brownwood led 3-0 after one inning with McAnear’s two-run double down the left field line scoring Salazar and Maxwell.
The lead grew to 7-0 after the second inning as Jones picked up an RBI single and Maxwell had an RBI ground out in the inning.
Brownwood’s final three runs scored in the bottom of the fourth as Darden and Jessica Seaton had RBI base hits, and Salazar scored on a double steal with Seaton.
Brownwood 7, Jim Ned 3
Brownwood defeated the Jim Ned Elite, 7-3, for the second time in as many days, following its 9-2 Saturday victory.
Jones, Maxwell and Darden finished with two hits each and Atchley drove in a team-high three runs, while Salazar collected two RBIs. Darden also led the Lady Lions with three runs scored.
On the rubber, Atchley struck out nine and gave up eight hits.
Bettie Jo Chambliss, Jordan Roberts and Victoria Ramos tallied two hits each for Jim Ned. Roberts also had two RBIs while Chambliss scored twice.
Leading 1-0 following an RBI ground out by Maxwell that scored Atchley, Brownwood tacked on three more runs in the top of the second inning.
Atchley chalked up an RBI single that brought home Darden, while Salazar’s two-RBI single scored Parsons and Atchley.
The lead reached five runs in the fourth inning on Atchley’s RBI ground out, which plated Darden.
With Jim Ned closing the gap to 5-2, the Lady Lions went back on the offensive and added two runs in the top of the sixth as Dees scored when Parsons reached on a dropped third strike, then Darden came home on Atchley’s RBI ground out.
Brownwood 4, Mabank 3
Brownwood opened play with a 4-3 victory over Mabank that almost slipped away in the seventh inning.
The Lady Lions built a 3-0 cushion as RBI singles by Maxwell and McAnear in the first inning scored Jones and Salazar. In the fifth inning, Parsons led off with a walk and scored on Salazar’s RBI ground out.
With two outs and no one on base in the top of the seventh, Mabank’s Melody Lander singled up the middle, then Siarah Smith and Alison Castle reached on consecutive errors, with the second scoring Lander.
Ashley Hammark then ripped a two-RBI double over the glove of Salazar at third as Mabank drew even.
But Brownwood responded in the bottom of the seventh by loading the bases with one out. Maxwell then hit a grounder to the second baseman and the throw to the plate got away from the catcher, allowing Atchley to score the game-winning run — which provided a signal of things to come.