Pretty it was not, but critical was the Brownwood Lady Lions’ first District 6-4A softball victory of the season.
The Lady Lions wrapped up the opening half of league play with an 8-6 home win over the Graham Lady Blues Friday night, avoiding a winless mark at the midway point of district and moving back into the thick of the postseason race.
Brownwood (11-7-1, 1-3) again struggled defensively in the first inning, continuing a district trend by yielding three runs to Graham (8-13, 0-3). But this time, the Lady Lions offense had an answer and posted seven runs in the bottom of the first.
The Lady Blues closed the gap to 7-5 in the top of the fifth, but the Lady Lions tacked on an insurance run in the third and escaped a jam in the top of the seventh.
“We started a little slow but we sure came back on fire,” said Lady Lions head coach Jessica Lynn. “I told the girls I was so proud of them for continuing to fight. We got down once again at the beginning of the game but the difference was we came out on fire offensively and got the runs back.”
The Lady Lions dug themselves a 3-0 hole in the top of the first inning as Graham led off the game with a single, but a pair of passed balls — including one on a dropped third strike — and an error allowed the Lady Blues to score their runs.
Chyanne Ellett — who picked up the win despite allowing six runs on seven hits with 10 strikeouts and five walks — walked two and plunked another batter in the first.
“(Chyanne) didn’t have her best stuff tonight but she battled and worked hard,” Lynn said. “And when the defense had a chance they made plays behind her.”
The bottom of the first was even wilder than the top half with the Lady Lions seizing a 7-3 advantage.
Ashley Gomez walked and Victoria Sanchez singled, then Kristen Fuentes came through with a one-out two-RBI single to left field.
Still down 3-2, Kayla McFarden singled, then both Fuentes and McFarden scored on a two-out, two-RBI single to left field by Ayanna Clemons, which gave Brownwood a 4-3 lead. Tori Burkett, Danyelle Gongora and Gomez followed with consecutive RBI singles to extend the lead to four runs.
Graham closed the gap to 7-5 in the second, while the Lady Lions tallied their final run in the third when Burkett walked and Kori Posey, running for Burkett, came home when Gongora reached on one of four Lady Blues errors.
Graham tacked on a final run in the seventh, but with two runners on base and the go-ahead run at the plate, Ellett recorded her final strikeout.
The Lady Lions’ district bye falls Tuesday and Brownwood will start the second half of 6-4A play at home Friday against Stephenville (19-7, 3-0) — which knocked off Abilene Wylie, 7-1, Friday.