Brownwood to face Vernon in regional quarterfinals next weekend

BROCK — The resiliency of the Brownwood Lady Lions softball team, which sparked the 2016 run to the state tournament, was on display again this weekend.

For the second round in a row, the Lady Lions overcame a 1-0 series deficit, needing eight innings Saturday to end the season of the Stephenville Honeybees in Game 3 of a Region I-4A area playoff series.

Brownwood dropped the first game of the series, 2-1, Friday night, but rallied for a 2-1 victory in the second game of a doubleheader.

Following seven scoreless innings of regulation Saturday, the Lady Lions (28-6) struck for the game's lone run in the top of the eighth.

Danyelle Gongora drew a lead off walk against Stephenville (26-6) pitcher Julia Flores, the only free pass allowed by the Honeybee hurler, who struck out five and yielded five hits. Ashlynn Patteson followed by laying down a sacrifice bunt to move Gongora to second base with one out. With two down, Annie Gillispie delivered the hit of the series, an RBI double off the wall in center field, allowing Gongora to cross the plate.

In the home half of the eighth inning, Chyanne Ellett — who carried a perfect game into the sixth inning — beaned Jessica Howell to start the frame. Bianka Garcia then struck out and Kenadee Richards popped out, but not before pinch-runner Kristen Pettit advanced to second on a wild pitch. With two outs and Pettit on third following a stolen base, Ellett was able to whiff Bowine Van Der Gragt to secure the victory.

“This game was a lot like the two last night, two teams that came out ready and were wanting to move on,” said Lady Lions head coach Jessica Lynn. “We finally had something go our way late and that proved to be enough.”

In the circle, Ellett saved her best pitching performance of the series for last, tossing a one-hitter with 16 strikeouts. During the three games, the Lady Lion sophomore allowed three runs — two earned — on seven hits with 42 strikeouts and seven base on balls over 21 innings.

“Chyanne came out strong like she did yesterday with a lot of good energy,” Lynn said. “Her stuff was working pretty good again today. She wasn't throwing as fast as yesterday, but the ball was really breaking and it kept their hitters off balance. She got some help from the defense, too.”

At the plate, Ellett picked up two more hits, giving her six for the series, while Gillispie, Victoria Sanchez and Kayla McFarden added one apiece.

During regulation, Ellett singled to center in the first inning; Sanchez added a bunt single in the second; McFarden tripled to center with one out in the fifth; and Ellett doubled with two down in the sixth.

“We hit a couple of balls we thought were going to be home runs, but the high fence in the outfield played a little bit of a role,” Lynn said. “I was just glad we got the one run and the win.”

The Lady Lions will face District 6-3A runner-up Vernon, which swept District 7-4A champion Mineral Wells 5-0 and 6-2 over the weekend, in the Region I-4A quarterfinals next weekend.