Lady Bobcats advance to the fourth round
Last updated 5/16/2023 at 11:56am
The young Orangefield Lady Bobcats have advanced to the fourth round of the Class 3A state softball playoffs. Orangefield started four freshmen and a sophomore as it swept the Pollok Central Lady Dogs in two games to move on in the post season.
The two games were played in Jasper a neutral site. The Lady Bobcats pulled out an exciting win in the opener 7-6 in walk-off fashion.
Central showed why it was undefeated in its district scoring four runs in the first inning of the first game. Four of the first six Lady Dogs got hits leading to two runs.
The final two runs in the inning came home on a call at first base that was questioned by Orangefield Coach Rebekah Ragsdale. A tapper back to pitcher Abigail Curphey was handled cleanly and her throw to first base with second baseman Alysen Vincent covering appeared to be in plenty of time to register the third out but the first base umpire ruled the Central batter safe as two more runs crossed the plate on the play to give the Lady Dogs a 4-0 advantage before the Lady Bobcats had batted.
Orangefield trimmed the Central lead to one by scoring three runs in the bottom half of the inning. Hallee Becker walked and Aubree Beck singled to left with the ball getting past the outfielder for an error to score Becker with the first Lady Bobcat run.
Beck moved to third on a ground out by Harleigh Rawls and scored on a passed ball. Charlee Sanches tripled to right field and scored the third run of the inning on a single by Curphey. The Lady Dogs turned a nifty double play to get out of further damage and still led 4-3 after one inning.
The Lady Bobcats tied the game in the third as Beck started the inning with a hit to left. Sanches smashed a ball to the right field fence sending home Aubree to make the score 4-4 with one out. Curphey grounded out to short, and Sanches was thrown out trying to advance to third on the play for another inning ending double play by Central.
A leadoff double by Mya Turney of the Lady Dogs in the fifth helped regain the lead for them. Turney scored on a two out hit off the centerfield fence by Meagan Morehouse who was tagged out when she rounded first base too far to get back. Centerfielder Rylee Dougay and Beck at shortstop made good throws to allow Greenlea Oldham at first to make the putout to end the inning with Orangefield down by a run.
Central added to its lead in the sixth when Ryann Brooks homered over the leftfield fence. The Lady Dogs led 6-4 going to the bottom of the sixth.
Sanches who was three for three in the game singled with one out to start a rally. Curphey followed with a single, but the big play was an error by the Lady Dogs on a grounder by Emily Meyers that scored Sanches to cut the lead to one run. Paris Becker grounded to short to bring home courtesy runner Haylee Spears to tie the game 6-6 after six.
Curphey did her job in the top half of the seventh inning stopping the Lady Dogs without a run after they got a hit to start the frame. The top of the order was due up for Orangefield in the bottom half with Hallee Becker and Beck the first two Lady Bobcats to hit.
Becker laid down a beautiful bunt which she beat out for a single. Beck fell behind in the count no balls and two strikes before blasting a drive to the fence in right centerfield easily scoring Hallee with the winning run.
Coach Ragsdale was ecstatic about the thrilling victory. "It was nice to see us come from behind. We really haven't had an opportunity much this year to do that, so, it was nice to see that we were resilient and we were gritty at the end. A walk off win is exciting, and we haven't had that in a long time, so, that was super exciting," Ragsdale shared.
A clinching victory was achieved in the second game played Friday, May 12. Orangefield won that game 4-1 over Central.
Pitcher Abigail Curphey was a star for the Lady Bobcats in the circle. Curphey gave up just one unearned run on five hits with no walks in seven innings striking out four Lady Dogs.
Aubree Beck continued to swing a big bat in the second game with three hits including two more doubles driving in Alysen Vincent twice for Lady Bobcat runs in the fifth and in the seventh. For the two games Beck had six hits and barely missed another one when her line drive was snagged by the Central third baseman in the first game.
There were other Lady Bobcats that contributed as Curphey had two runs batted in during the sixth. Harleigh Rawls and Charlee Sanches scored on the key hit by Abigail to give Orangefield a 3-0 lead at the time.
Curphey got some great help from her fellow Lady Bobcats in the field. Paris Becker made a sensational catch in leftfield during the fifth inning to rob a Lady Dog of an extra base hit to end the inning. Catcher Rawls gave an extreme effort in catching a foul pop in the seventh to help end the season for Central.
The task does not get easier for Orangefield as it moves into the fourth round of the playoffs. The Lady Bobcats face the Grandview Zebras who are 36-2 on the season.
The playoff will be a one game matchup between Orangefield and Grandview. The game will be played Friday, May 19, at 6:30 PM in Navasota.