ABILENE – Down to their final at-bat, the offense for the No. 16 Brownwood Lady Lions sprang to life with four runs in the top of the seventh inning en route to a 4-1 road victory over the Abilene Wylie Lady Bulldogs in Tuesday's District 5-4A softball opener for both squads.
Co-district champions a year ago, the Lady Lions and Lady Bulldogs split four games overall, including their two district contests, with each team winning on its home turf.
Wylie (7-9-1, 0-1) appeared poised to start the 2018 district campaign in the same fashion as the Lady Lions (14-3-1, 1-0) mustered just two of their six hits off Lady Bulldog pitcher Kaylee Phillip over the first six innings.
In the top of the seventh, however, Brownwood finally solved Phillip. Ashlynn Patteson started the frame with a single to right field, but was caught stealing for the first out. Ayanna Clemons quickly followed with a hard grounder into left field, then Yisel Mendoza's RBI double to center field knotted the score at 1.
Landry Holden then singled on a pop up to shallow left field, and Ryleigh Dalleh drew a walk to load the bases. Mya McDowell drew a walk of her own off Phillip, which plated Karly Harper, running for Mendoza, with the go-ahead run.
Annie Gillispie followed and drew a third consecutive walk off Phillip, which plated Holden with Brownwood's third run. Dalleh tallied the final Lady Lion run when she scored on a wild pitch during Chyanne Ellett's at-bat.
In the circle, Ellett tossed a four-hitter with eight strikeouts and one walk.
Wylie scored its only run in the bottom of the third as Phillip led off with a single, then Lilly New sacrificed Phillip from first to third on a bunt. Halle Arbilera followed with an RBI ground out to plate Phillip.
Mendoza finished with two hits to pace the Brownwood attack, followed by one each from Gillispie, Patteson, Clemons and Holden.
The Lady Lions will play just their second regular season game in Brownwood this season as they welcome Sweetwater at 5 p.m. Friday for their 5-4A home opener.