Their paths to the winners’ bracket were drastically different, but both the Brownwood and Early squads competing in the 20-team Texas Teen-Age Softball High School Eligible State Tournament at Camp Bowie recorded opening-round victories Friday.
Brownwood collected a 7-0 win over a Eula squad that played the final six innings with just eight players.
Meanwhile, Early needed a tag at home plate by catcher Tresta Donahoo in the seventh inning to hold on for a 4-3 win over Abilene.
Brownwood — which will face Jim Ned at 2 p.m. today in winners’ bracket action — received a complete-game two-hitter from pitcher Kaitlin Sliger. Sliger also struck out five batters.
Offensively, Brownwood struck for three runs in the bottom of the second inning and added four more in the sixth.
Ashley Salazar started the third by reaching on an infield single, then Lauren Dees’ single to right-center field brought Salazar home.
Jalisa Hall later reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a wild pitch during Kate Atchley’s at-bat, then Kerri Jones plated Atchley with an RBI infield single.
In the sixth inning, Hall drove home both Sayla Parsons, who reached on an error, and Salazar, who recorded a bunt single, to increase the lead to 5-0.
Jessica Seaton then laid down a sacrifice bunt that scored Dees and Atchley singled home Hall.
Early — which will battle Hubbard at 2 p.m. today in the winners’ bracket — received a pair of two-run inside-the-park home runs from Donahoo and Julia Loudermilk as it raced out to a 4-1 advantage.
Loudermilk went the distance to earn the win for Early.
Twenty games will be played at Camp Bowie today starting at 10 a.m. The tournament championship game will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday.