No. 6 Liberty Hill hands Lady Lions first 8-3A softball loss

DERRICK STUCKLY BROWNWOOD BULLETIN derrick.stuckly@brownwoodbulletin.com
Alyson Finnigan rounds first base en route to a triple during the Lady Lions’ 6-1 loss to No. 6 Liberty Hill in District 8-3A softball action.

Facing the first of two state-ranked opponents in succession, the Brownwood Lady Lions came up on the short end of a 6-1 District 8-3A softball encounter against the No. 6 Liberty Hill Lady Panthers Tuesday night.

The loss was the first in district for the Lady Lions (13-5, 1-1), who will visit No. 4 Lampasas at 7 p.m. Friday.

Liberty Hill (14-5, 2-0) received 13 strikeouts from Samantha Junkin over five innings, and a pair from Nicole Thiem in two innings of relief as the Lady Panther hurlers limited Brownwood to seven hits.

Lady Lion pitcher Alyson Finnigan chalked up 11 strikeouts, but surrendered nine hits and a pair of walks.

Clinging to a 2-1 lead in to top of the sixth, Liberty Hill put four runs on the board to pull away.

Bailey Beavers led off with a double, Haylie Park walked and Lynsey Mitchell reached on a two-out free pass. Payton Walker then drilled a fly ball to left field which resulted in an error that allowed three runs to come home. Junkin followed with an RBI single that plated Walker and capped the scoring.

The Lady Lions tallied their only run in the bottom of the fourth inning after Liberty Hill had grabbed a 2-0 advantage.

Through three innings, the only Lady Lion base runner had been Kristen Fuentes, who drew a leadoff walk in the fourth, but was left stranded at first base.

In the bottom of the fourth, Finnigan launched a one-out triple to the gap in left-center field. Then, with two outs, Ashley Jones delivered with an RBI single into left field.

Tori Burkett singled with one out in the fifth and Ashley Gomez reached on a wind-aided two-out infield single, both neither runner came home.

Jones notched her second hit on a two-out single in the sixth, but was stranded, while Kayla McFarden and Gomez recorded back-to-back singles with two outs in the seventh, but were left on the bases.

Liberty Hill struck first in the top of the first inning as Walker singled with one out and came home on Joely Williamson’s two-out RBI single to left field.

In the top of the fourth, Williamson reached on a leadoff single and later scored on an RBI sacrifice fly to right field by Kelly McKinzey.