EARLY — The Brownwood Shamrocks won three consecutive games Friday to join the undefeated Early Fully Loaded as Texas Teen-Age Softball Junior Girls state tournament qualifiers out of District 6.
Early cruised past the Comanche Aggies, 11-0, in five innings in its only action of the day, while the Shamrocks eliminated the Comanche Red Raiders, 7-4, the Winters Rattlers, 11-1, and the Comanche Aggies, 11-7, in eight innings.
The Shamrocks then opted out of playing a fourth game against Fully Loaded after already clinching the second state tournament berth with their come-from-behind win over the Aggies.
Both Fully Loaded and the Shamrocks will begin play in the 14-team state tournament in Chandler, just outside of Tyler, on July 16.
In the tournament finale, the Shamrocks trailed the Aggies, 7-3, after four innings, but scored a pair of runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to extend the game past the 105-minute time limit expired.
Down 7-3 in the top of the fifth, Stephanie Fuqua and Nathalie De La Torre — who both singled with two outs — scored when Heather Holdiness reached base on a dropped third strike.
Trailing 7-5 in the top of the sixth, Mallorie Maxwell drove in her third and fourth runs of the game, plating Kirsten Reichneau, who walked, and Katie Mullins, who doubled, to pull the Shamrocks even at 7-all.
After a scoreless seventh inning, Brownwood struck for four runs in the top of the eighth.
Tiara Brown’s RBI double scored a diving Maxwell with the go-ahead run, then Fuqua singled home Brown for a 9-7 Shamrocks’ lead.
Fuqua and Destany Rodriguez then scored with two outs on a botched rundown of Fuqua between third base and home plate.
Brownwood trailed 4-0 after one inning, but closed to within a run in the top of the third. Maxwell — who also picked up the win in the circle and struck out seven — drove home Reichneau and Mullins with a single, while Brown knocked in Maxwell.
The Aggies increased their lead to 7-3 in the bottom of the fourth as Brooke Stewart drove in a run with a triple and two more Comanche runs scored on errors.
Comanche was attempting to rebound after being no-hit by Early’s Daniela Castillo in its previous game.
Castillo struck out eight batters, walked four and hit another batter in four innings of action for Fully Loaded.
Offensively, Early scored in each of its four trips to the plate, including five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning which enforced the run-rule.
Tylene Middleton drove in a team-high three runs, Madison Berry recorded two RBIs and Morgan Birrell, Shandi Winstead, Janna Allen and Leeza Hudspeth each knocked in a run apiece.
Fully Loaded struck for two runs in their first at-bat as Birrell drove home Castillo with an RBI single to left field, then Berry plated Birrell with an RBI infield base hit.
Early pushed its lead to 5-0 in the second inning as Julia Loudermilk, who led off with a single, scored on a wild pitch during Winstead’s at-bat. Winstead followed with RBI ground out that scored Katie Isom, who reached on a walk. Castillo then laid down a sacrifice bunt that brought home Erica Hulse, who was hit by a pitch, with the final run of the inning.
Fully Loaded added just one run in the third inning as Berry, who was hit by a pitch, scored on Middleton’s RBI ground out to shortstop.
Early then exploded for five runs in the fourth inning to ice the game. Berry’s RBI fielder’s choice scored Winstead with the first run, then Middleton rattled a two-RBI triple off the left field fence to boost the lead to 9-0.
Allen followed with an RBI single to center that brought home Middleton with the 10th run, then Hudspeth singled home Allen to cap the scoring.
In the Shamrocks’ 7-4 win over the Comanche Red Raiders, the game was resumed from Thursday’s postponement with two outs in the bottom of the second and Brownwood leading 1-0.
When play restarted, Maxwell’s grounder to third was misplayed which allowed Symone Miller to score and put the Shamrocks up 2-0.
Comanche cut the deficit in half with Shandale Riley’s RBI single in the top of the fourth inning, but the Shamrocks chalked up three more runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Brown ripped a two-run single to right field, then Fuqua followed with an RBI single to right-center that boosted the Shamrocks’ lead to 5-1.
An RBI ground out by Katherine Bean in the fifth inning gave Comanche its second run, but again the Shamrocks answered.
An RBI double by Rodriguez and an RBI single from Mullins increased Brownwood’s lead to 7-2.
Comanche tacked on two more runs in the sixth inning, but Maxwell retired the Red Raiders in order in the top of the seventh as she posted five strikeouts after play resumed.