Lady Lions outlast Gatesville, 8-6, to improve to 3-1 in district

DERRICK STUCKLY BROWNWOOD BULLETIN derrick.stuckly@brownwoodbulletin.com
Lady Lion second baseman Ashley Gomez (left) lunges to tag out Gatesville’s Shaley Sutton (3), who was attempting to stretch a single into a double, during Brownwood’s 8-6 district win Tuesday night.

The Brownwood bats again rose to the challenge as the Lady Lions used another stellar offensive effort to claim their third District 8-3A victory in four outings.

On the heels of Friday’s 9-6 triumph over then-No. 4 Lampasas, the Lady Lions jumped out to their second straight six-run advantage before holding off the Gatesville Lady Hornets, 8-6, Tuesday night.

Trailing 1-0 after the first inning, the Lady Lions (15-5, 3-1) answered with a pair of three-run innings against Gatesville (9-11, 1-3) pitcher Evan Edmiston in the second and third, then struck for what turned out to be the two decisive runs in the bottom of the fourth.

“We came out aggressive at the plate and scored runs in multiple innings, which is what we’ve been preaching to the girls all year,” said Lady Lions first-year head coach Jessica Lynn. “Once you start scoring, you have to keep it up.”

Gatesville grabbed a 1-0 edge two batters in as Blayne McGhee launched a solo home run to right field off Alyson Finnigan, who surrendered 13 hits but struck out eight batters.

“Gatesville came out swinging and is a very good hitting team, but I never worry when Alyson’s going to start,” Lynn said. “I know she’s going to be ready and battle however long she’s out there. She may not have had her best stuff, but she battled and made it work for her.”

After mustering just a first-inning single, the Lady Lions started the second inning with an infield hit by Ashley Jones, then Victoria Sanchez was hit by a pitch. Shelbi Winstead, who finished with a pair of extra-base hits and four RBIs, then knocked in her first two runs with a double.

“Shelbi had a huge game,” Lynn said. “She’s been in a small little slump, but she’s been working hard on her hitting the last week or so and it’s definitely showing.”

With two outs in the inning, Kayla McFarden drew a walk and Ashley Gomez immediately followed with an RBI triple as Brownwood took a 3-1 edge to the third inning.

Ashlee Green doubled with two outs in the second for Gatesville and scored on an error, but the Lady Lions answered with another three-spot in the bottom of the frame to open a 6-2 edge.

Finnigan drew a base on balls, Kristen Fuentes reached on an error and Jones was plunked to load the bases with no outs for the Lady Lions. Finnigan scored Brownwood’s fourth run on a wild pitch during Sanchez’s at-bat, then Winstead delivered her second two-RBI extra-base hit of the contest.

The Lady Lions tacked on their final two runs in the fourth as Danyelle Gongora reached on a fielder’s choice and Finnigan doubled ahead of a two-RBI double from Fuentes that extended the lead to 8-2.

“Kristen’s been coming up big all year for us,” Lynn said. “She knows when it’s a big moment and when we need her, and she comes through.”

Gatesville shaved the deficit to 8-4 in the fifth inning on a two-RBI double by McKenzie Winkler, then in the seventh Edmiston and Mona Lewis recorded consecutive two-out RBI singles.

But with two outs in the Gatesville seventh and the potential go-ahead run at the plate in Ashley Weatherford, Finnigan notched her eighth strikeout to secure the win.

The Lady Lions will wrap up the first half of District 8-3A softball action at 6 p.m. Friday in Llano.