STEPHENVILLE — The No. 6 Brownwood Lady Lions won't be sharing a district softball championship this season, as they clinched the 7-4A title outright Tuesday with an 8-0 victory over Stephenville, which ended the rival Honeybees' season.
“The last couple of times we've been co-champs so it's nice to have it by ourselves,” said Lady Lions head coach Jessica Lynn. “One of the goals of the senior class was they wanted to be outright district champs and they came out and took care of business like they needed to.”
Leading the way in Brownwood's (20-2-1, 6-1) senior class is University of Memphis-bound pitcher Chyanne Ellett, who recorded 20 strikeouts — all but one of Stephenville's (8-20, 1-7) outs — while yielding three hits and dishing out five walks. Ellett earlier this season set a new Brownwood High School single-game record with 23 strikeouts in a nine-inning 1-0 victory over Eastland.
“She did a good job working with a really tight strike zone,” Lynn said of Ellett, who has 307 strikeouts and 29 walks on the season, and 1,142 Ks in her career. “She had some battles and had to work for it, but she did a good job.”
At the plate, the Lady Lions continued their stellar swings with 14 hits, led by four from Yisel Mendoza, who doubled twice and also scored two runs. Annie Gillispie and Auzzlynn Benedict finished with two hits and an RBI apiece; Aubrie Harris and Ayanna Clemons both drove in two and notched a hit; Landry Holden contributed one hit and an RBI; and Ashlynn Patteson and Ellett also recorded hits.
“This was another well-played game,” Lynn said. “We played good defense, had good pitching and we're really seeing the ball well. We had a lot of extra base hits and runners on base pretty much every inning.”
The Lady Lions opened a 1-0 advantage in the top of the first as Gillispie led off with a double to center field and came home on Benedict's two-out RBI base hit up the middle.
Brownwood increased its lead to 2-0 in the fourth as an RBI fielder's choice by Harris brought home Mendoza, who began the frame with a single to right field.
The Lady Lions tacked on three runs in the sixth inning to establish some breathing room. Mendoza began the frame with a double, Annie-Klein Allgood was hit by a pitch, then Holden reached on a fielder's choice. Harris responded with an RBI double to right field that knocked in Allgood, then Gillispie's RBI infield single plated Holden. Harris capped the scoring in the sixth by coming home on a wild pitch.
Leading 5-0, the Lady Lions added three additional runs in the seventh. After Benedict reached on an error to begin the inning, Clemons launched a two-run blast to center field. Mendoza followed the home run with a single, and two batters later an RBI base hit up the middle by Holden accounted for the final run of the game.
Brownwood wraps up its regular season at home at 6 p.m. Thursday against Mineral Wells, the only team to knock off the Lady Lions in district action. Then, at 5 p.m. Monday, the Lady Lions will host Clyde in playoff warm-up action.
As for the rematch with Mineral Wells (18-11, 3-4) — which has dropped two games in a row, including Tuesday's 6-4 loss to Godley (15-8, 4-3) — Lynn said, “We have a lot of confidence because we're hitting so well and playing good defense. I know it's a short turnaround but I think we'll be ready to go.”