The Early Lady Horns and Comanche Tribe are two of the final three teams remaining in the TTAS High School Eligible state tournament, and will clash at 8:30 a.m. Sunday at the Massey Sports Complex for the right to battle the Rockdale GRIT in the 10:30 a.m. championship game.
Early began bracket play Saturday with a 17-0 win over the Comanche Maidens, followed by a 9-5 loss to Rockdale, a 4-3 triumph over the Milam County Smash and an 11-6 victory over the Belton Aggies in the final game of the day.
The Comanche Tribe, meanwhile, drew a first-round bye and downed the Belton Aggies, 13-5, before being blanked by Rockdale, 7-0.
In additional tournament action Saturday morning, the Belton Aggies defeated Milam County Smash, while the other afternoon result featured Belton booting the Comanche Maidens.
During Early’s 17-0 thrashing of the Comanche Maidens, the Lady Horns racked up a dozen runs in the top of the first inning. Early tacked on two more runs in the third inning and the final three during the fourth frame.
Early’s 12-run first inning started with a single from Vicki Lopez followed by back-to-back RBI doubles from Taylor Summers and Alize Lopez. Reagan Shults then walked ahead of an RBI fielder’s choice by Grace LaRue, then Vance Cady Gordon reached on an error. Kailee Love and Alexa Portillo chipped in consecutive RBI singles as the lead stood at 6-0 with eight runners reaching base before the first out was recorded.
Vicki Lopez and Summers then contributed two-RBI singles in succession, while LaRue and Gordon added RBI base hits before the frame came to an end.
The Lady Horns tacked on a pair of two-out runs in the third as Shults singled with one down and Gordon reached on a two-out throwing error. Love then reached on another Comanche miscue, while Trinity Torrez delivered an RBI single to produce the second run of the frame.
Comanche’s best threat to score came in bottom of the third as Abby Land walked, Emily Prater singled to left field and Kayle Nichols bunted her way aboard. But with one out, Kaelee Suniga grounded back to the circle which resulted in an inning-ending double play.
Early scored its final three runs in the fourth inning as Maggie Robinson singled with two outs, Shults walked and LaRue came through with an RBI double. Gordon and Love then followed with RBI singles to cap the scoring.
Kyndal Staggs pitched the first three innings and allowed two hits with two strikeouts and two walks. Jessica Horton worked the final frame and recorded one strikeout.
In the loss to Rockdale, Early surrendered a pair of three-run innings in the second and third. The Lady Horns closed the gap to 6-2 in the fourth inning and crept within a run, 6-5, in the bottom of the sixth. Rockdale answered with three runs in the top of the seventh to put the game away.
Trailing 6-2 in the sixth, Vicki Lopez reached on a one-out single to left field, then Summers followed with an RBI triple. LaRue’s RBI single up the middle knocked in Summers, cutting the deficit to 6-4. With the bases loaded and one out, Gordon’s RBI sacrifice fly scored LaRue with the fifth run.
Rockdale rebounded in the top of the seventh as Hailey Martinez reached on an error, Nataley Martinez was hit by a pitch and Yarely Navarro delivered an RBI single. Hailey Martinez later scored on an errant pickoff attempt at third base, while Mariana Caraez’s RBI bases-loaded walk plated Navarro with the final run.
GRIT took a 3-0 lead in the second as Kassidy Bradshaw reached on an error that allowed both Savannah Weiser and Navarro to score. Another Early fielding miscue during Salome Cardona’s at-bat resulted in the third run.
Rockdale’s three-run third featured an RBI single double by Weiser that plated Hailey Martinez, while Hannah Zgabay’s two-RBI single knocked in both Weiser and Navarro.