GRAHAM ó The Brownwood Lady Lions were unable to pull off a first-round upset as the Vernon Lady Lions advanced to the second round of the Region I-4A softball playoffs thanks to a 10-1 bi-district triumph Thursday.
Brownwood (10-13), playing its third game in four days, defeated Abilene Wylie, 7-6, Monday to qualify for the playoffs, then dropped a seeding contest to Stephenville, 4-2, Tuesday to settle for the fourth seed.
Vernon (18-4) put a pair of runs on the board in each of the first two innings to establish an early 4-0 cushion. Meanwhile, pitcher Sam Bersche limited Brownwood to four hits and did not surrender a run until the fifth inning.
Lady Lion hurlers Alexis Larrea and Emily Perez surrendered a dozen hits between them, while the defense committed five errors behind them. Still, Brownwood was able to leave 10 Vernon base runners stranded.
Vernon grabbed a quick 2-0 lead as Jacee Lovell walked and Shykerra Fanner singled to start the game, then Bersche came through with a two-RBI single.
The lead for Vernon grew to 4-0 in the second as Audrey Grad led off with a single and scored when Lovell reached on an error. A two-out error during Jade Guzmanís at-bat allowed Lovell to tally the fourth run.
Vernon extended its advantage to 6-0 in the fourth inning as Lovell was hit by a pitch to start the frame, then Jaci Daniels drew a one-out walk. Lovell later scored on a grounder by Bersche, which turned into an error. Daniels then stole home on the back end of a double steal with Bersche.
In the top of the fifth inning, Vernonís lead reached 7-0 as Lovell doubled with two outs, which was immediately followed by an RBI double from Fanner.
The Lady Lions struck for their only run in the bottom of the fifth as Ashley Gomez reached on a one-out double and scored on a two-out RBI single by Larrea. Emily Perez and Kayla McFarden accounted for the other Brownwood hits.
Vernon added three additional runs in the top of the seventh as McKenna Spikes singled home Madison Sneed, who started the inning with a base hit. With two down, Bersche knocked in Spikes and Lovell with a single.