Brownwood to face Springtown in bi-district round of the playoff
In their final action before the start of the UIL Class 4A state softball playoffs, the No. 6 Brownwood Lady Lions and Class 3A No. 13 Clyde Lady Bulldogs played to a scoreless tie in a game that was halted after nine innings. The contest was called as neither coach wanted to overexert their players with postseason play beginning later this week.
The Lady Lions (21-2-2) and Clyde (20-5-1) met earlier in the season, with Brownwood picking up a 4-0 road victory on March 26.
In the rematch, Brownwood's Chyanne Ellett tossed a one-hitter with 19 strikeouts and four walks, but Clyde's Kaitlyn Turner answered with a six-hit shutout, a half dozen strikeouts and no walks. Each team left eight runners stranded on base.
“It was a good game and we needed to face a pitcher like that and an offense that would test our bunt defense,” said Lady Lions head coach Jessica Lynn. “That aspect of our defense hasn't been really tested the last few weeks. We do have to work on making some adjustments at the plate and some other things, but overall I think this was a game that did a lot of good things for us going into the playoffs.”
Clyde came the closest to scoring, having one base runner make it third, but Ellett — who now stands at 344 strikeouts and 33 walks on the season, and 1,179 Ks for her career — was able to work out of a couple of jams during the game.
In sixth, Clyde's Channing Siewart led off with a walk and Peyton Lee drew a one-out free pass. A passed ball later in the frame allowed Siewart to advance to third base, but Ellett struck out Turner and Haven Williams to keep the shutout intact.
Then, in the seventh, Kaelyn Miller reached on an error to start the frame and Samantha Samford drew a walk. With two on and no outs, Ellett induced pop outs from Brooke Widener to Maddie Yazell in left field and Siewart to Ashlynn Patteson in center, sandwiched around a strikeout of Londen Brashear.
Clyde also had base runners in the second, third and ninth innings, but none advanced past first base.
“Chyanne did a good job when runners got on,” Lynn said. “She got some strikeouts in some key spots in the game. She had good stuff and was throwing hard. And I thought Annie (Gillispie) did a good job calling the game behind the plate.”
Offensively, Auzzlyn Benedict collected two hits for Brownwood while Gillispie, Patteson, Ayanna Clemons and Annie-Klein Allgood added one each — all singles.
In the first inning, Gillispie led off with a single but that was all the damage the Lady Lions could do. With two outs in the second, Allgood was hit by a pitch and Landry Holden reached on an error, but the rally died there. In the fourth, Benedict singled and Clemons reached on an error to start the frame, but Clyde bounced back with three straight outs. Patteson singled in the fifth and Allgood singled in the eighth, but that's all Brownwood mustered in those frames.
Then, in the ninth and final inning, Benedict and Clemons began the frame with consecutive singles. But the next three batters were retired in order — almost a mirror image of the fourth inning — as Brownwood was kept off the scoreboard.
Going into the playoffs, the Lady Lions have scored two runs over the last 16 innings — and both runs crossed the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning of a 2-1 win over Mineral Wells this past Thursday. Despite the recent struggles, Lynn is confident the offense will find its rhythm in the postseason.
“That was a really good pitcher and I give her props for keeping us off balance,” Lynn said. “She had good stuff tonight and we had a tough time against her. When we get runners on we have to get them over and we have to get that hit with runners in scoring position. She did a good job when we got runners in scoring position of bearing down and getting soft contact or getting strikeouts. That's what Chyanne has been doing all season long, so we know it from the other end and don't necessarily like when it happens to us.”
The Lady Lions learned late Monday they will facing Springtown in the bi-district round of the playoffs. The Lady Pines (7-24) knocked off Bridgeport, 11-10, in a one-game playoff to claim the fourth playoff seed from District 8-4A. Details on the bi-district matchup are still being determined.