Lady Bears fall to Liberty
Last updated 5/16/2023 at 12:01pm
The Little Cypress Mauriceville Lady Bears battled the defending state champion Liberty Lady Panthers in the third round of the Class 4A softball playoffs. The Lady Bears lost two games and were eliminated from the post season.
Liberty came into the best of three series with LCM having won their four previous playoff games by a lopsided combined score of 51-2. Little Cypress Mauriceville won four of five playoff games in order to advance to the third round.
The first game of the series was played Thursday, May 11, at Anahuac as chosen by Liberty with the Panthers the designated home team for the opener. The Lady Panthers came away with 4-2 victory to take a one game lead in the series.
LCM got good pitching from sophomore Ella Stephenson who threw five and a third innings. Tessa Erickson finished the game getting the last two outs against the Liberty batters.
The Lady Bears got four hits in the game. Stephenson, Eden Frenzel, Keylie Washburn, and Ava Wright got one hit each. Jillian Brown walked all three times she came to the plate for LCM.
Lexis Moss got a run batted in on a fielder's choice. The best chance for Little Cypress Mauriceville came in the seventh when the Lady Bears loaded the bases, but the Lady Panthers prevailed by two runs.
Game two was played at Bridge City as chosen by Little Cypress Mauriceville on Friday, May 12. A win by the Lady Bears would have forced the third game to follow later that evening.
Ella Stephenson started in the circle again for LCM. Ella pitched a complete seven innings holding Liberty to six runs only four of which were earned.
Liberty scored in the top of the first when Reese Evans singled with one out. Evans stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a hard hit grounder by Alex Wiley that Lady Bear Keylie Washburn deflected the ball at third to shortstop Eden Frenzel who threw Wiley out at first base. Stephenson walked three Lady Panthers in the inning but left the bases loaded with just the one run coming home.
The Lady Bears got singles by Lexis Moss and Ava Wright after two were out in the bottom of the first inning. They were both left stranded.
The Lady Panthers added two more runs in the second. Brookelyn Taylor got the first of three hits in the inning with Bailee Slack and Hollie Thomas getting the other two. Evans and Thomas had runs batted in to give Liberty a 3-0 lead.
The score remained unchanged over the next three innings. Stephenson wriggled out of a precarious situation in the third as Liberty had runners at third and second with one out when she got a shallow fly to left and an infield popup to retire the Lady Panthers with no damage done.
Wright made a nice running back handed catch in center field during the fourth inning for the Lady Bears. Washburn fielded a grounder at third for an unassisted force out in the top of the sixth that helped quelch a Liberty threat after the first two hitters reached base.
Little Cypress Mauriceville got on the board in the bottom of the sixth as Washburn floated a fly ball that dropped into shallow center, and she sled into second with a double. Lexis Moss legged out a grounder near second base for a hit as Washburn moved to third. Wright brought Keylie home with a sacrifice fly to left and the Lady Bears were down only two runs 3-1 with an inning to play.
Liberty responded by scoring three runs in the top half of the seventh. Four hits and a dropped fly ball in the outfield put the Lady Panthers up 6-1 going to the bottom of the seventh.
As it did in the first game Little Cypress Mauriceville loaded the bases in its last at bat. Jacelyn Cook began with a walk, Stephenson singled to center, after a fielder's choice Ava White walked to fill the bases with Lady Bears, and only one out.
Lady Panther pitcher Taylor got Eden Frenzel to ground out to first which scored courtesy runner Abi Sepulvado from third. Taylor then got a comebacker from Washburn to retire her ending the game 6-2 and giving Liberty the series two games to none.
Lady Bear Coach Dena Adkins is proud of the effort from her girls. Adkins responded, "My team is scrappy. We don't like to lose. In fact we hate losing more than we love winning. The Lady Bears never give up. I think we gave Liberty a good run for their money. We're not to be underestimated and my girls gave them everything they could give them."
This was actually a very young team for LCM, and Coach Adkins believes the Lady Bears could make another good run next season. "I told the Lady Bears look around with the exception of our senior Ansley Moore who is going to be sorely missed as a great leader and teammate you are all coming back. Think about it. Look where we are ending this season and where we're going to start next year. We're going to be strong, we're going to be really tough to beat next year," Adkins concluded.