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By Dan Perrine
For The Record 

Bridge City, LCM, and Orangefield all advance in softball playoffs

 

Last updated 4/29/2024 at 10:06pm

Pitcher Carson Fall was brilliant for Bridge City winning both games and striking out 38 batters in the two wins over Huffman

The post season for softball has begun for three local teams. The situation now is win or go home.

That said the Bridge City Cardinals were at home for their first two playoff games with the Huffman Lady Falcons. The series was a best of three starting with a pair of games on Thursday, April 25, at the Bridge City softball field.

It was a matchup of the first place Cardinals from District 19-4A against the fourth place team in District 20-4A the Lady Falcons. The difference between the two teams came down to the superiority of the Cardinals' pitcher Carson Fall over an excellent trio of pitchers for Huffman.

Bridge City and Huffman totaled four runs between them in the two games. The Cardinals won both games by a single run, 1-0 in Game 1, and 2-1 in Game 2, to advance to the next round of the post season.

Fall had an amazing 21 strikeouts in her seven innings of Game 1 as every out was recorded with three strikes on the Huffman batters. Carson walked two Lady Falcons in the fourth inning both on full count pitches, and they were the only Huffman base runners in the game.

Kendall Padgett the Lady Falcons pitcher matched Fall throwing goose eggs except in the bottom of the fourth inning when Bridge City scored the lone run of the contest. Haley Munoz drew a leadoff walk and Gabby Moore courtesy ran for her.

Lexi Nugier slapped a bunt past the third baseman of Huffman for the first Cardinal hit of the game. Anna Autrey sacrificed Moore to third, and when a pitch got away from the Lady Falcon catcher Gabby raced home to score what was the winning run of the contest.

The second game followed later on Thursday evening at Bridge City. The only change was Huffman was designated the home team and the Cardinals would bat first in each inning.

Bridge City threatened in the top of the first as Haley Munoz and Anna Autrey walked around a sacrifice by Lexi Nugier. The next two Cardinals were retired to end the inning without a run.

Cambree LaComb started the second inning being hit by a pitch and Nicole Sasser then smashed a single to center to put two Cardinals on with no outs. Carson Fall doubled off the centerfield fence to drive in LaComb and Sasser to give Bridge City a 2-0 lead with still no outs.

Huffman executed an unusual double play retiring Kyleigh Hamilton and the courtesy runner for Fall on a ground ball which included a rundown. This cost the Cardinals as Munoz then doubled to rightfield which would have added another run on the scoreboard.

The Lady Falcons changed pitchers in the top of the third. The new pitcher threw the final five innings allowing only a single by Fall in the seventh.

In the circle Fall picked up where she left off in the first game striking out the first nine Huffman batters before walking the Lady Falcons' leadoff hitter Maddie Smith to begin the bottom of the fourth inning. Smith was thrown out trying to steal second by Cardinal catcher Munoz to end the fourth.

The cleanup hitter for the Lady Falcons Kaci Gobart led off the fifth lining a full count pitch to the right centerfield fence for a double. Huffman laid down a sacrifice bunt on which the throw to first base struck the batter in the back allowing the courtesy runner for Gobart to come all the way home to score. Bridge City argued to no avail with the umpires that the batter was running inside the first base line and should have been ruled.

A wild pitch and a sacrifice moved the tying runner to third for Huffman with one out. Another pitch got loose but Munoz retrieved the ball and threw to Fall covering the plate for a tag out of the runner attempting to score keeping it 2-1 in favor of Bridge City, and that is how the game ended two innings later.

Once again Fall was dominate in the circle throwing a one hitter, walking one, striking out 17, and allowing only one unearned run. The Cardinals had four hits, two walks, and a hit batter against the two Huffman hurlers.

"Proud of the Cardinals. As I've been saying we ask a lot of the players to go a doubleheader back to back. We ask a lot of Carson and Haley in the circle and behind the plate, but we told them that if we scrap through this we move on. We believed in our girls, they did what they needed to do, and when they messed up the Cardinals picked their heads up and kept going, so that's big," Bridge City Coach Kylie Bradley replied.

The Cardinals face Lufkin Hudson in the second round of the state playoffs. The Lady Hornets were runners up in District 18-4A and clobbered Carthage 16-2 in a one game playoff during the first round. Bridge City and Lufkin Hudson will play one game on Thursday, May 2, with the first pitch at 6:00 PM in Jasper.

The Little Cypress Mauriceville Lady Bears advanced to the second round of the post season by sweeping the Livingston Lady Lions. LCM won 11-1 in six innings and 6-5 over Livingston in games played Friday and Saturday, April 26-27, in Cleveland.

Tessa Erickson was a star for the Lady Bears with her arm and her bat in the first game. Erickson threw a complete game with six strikeouts while also hitting a two run homer that closed the game with the ten rule mercy rule.

Other Lady Bears also contributed to the offense as Jacelyn Cook went three for four including a grand slam in the second inning. Lexis Moss and Keylie Washburn had multiple hits driving in a pair of runs apiece.

Saturday night's game was much closer as the Lady Bears pulled out the one run win. Jacelyn Cook stayed hot with three hits again driving in two runs. Ava Wright hit her first homerun of the year to help give Little Cypress Mauriceville the victory to take the series in two games.

The Lady Bears face Gilmer the District 17-4A champs in Round 2 of the state softball playoffs. Gilmer beat Rusk in two games 7-4 and 9-5 to sweep its opening series.

LCM and Gilmer will play a best of three games series beginning on Friday, May 3, at 7:00 PM in Carthage. Game 2 will be Saturday at 4:00 PM in Jasper with a third game if necessary to follow.

The Orangefield Lady Bobcats are bi-district champions after sweeping two games from the Central Heights Blue Devils. Orangefield won Game 1 on Friday 4-3 and rolled 13-2 in the second game on Saturday. Both games were held in Jasper.

Abigail Curphey started the first game for the Lady Bobcats throwing five innings and allowing just one earned run. Charlee Sanches relieved and got the win pitching the last two innings.

Orangefield rallied in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 4-3 lead. Sanches knocked in two runs to put the Lady Bobcats on top.

That big blow was Sanches' second base knock of the game matching Curphey who also had two hits. Alysen Vincent, Aubree Beck, and Paris Becker each had singles while Beck, Sanches, Paris Becker, and Hallee Becker all scored a run for the Lady Bobcats in the opening win of the series.

The second game started with the first two batters for Orangefield being retired in the top of the first. With two outs Paris Becker got things started with a base hit to center followed by Charlee Sanches doubling off the centerfield fence to drive Paris home to give the Lady Bobcats a 1-0 lead.

Abigail Curphey blooped a ball into shallow left for a hit to score Sanches from second base. A passed ball moved Curphey to second who then had Audrey Sonnier courtesy run for her, and Sonnier scored on a single to right by Alysen Vincent. Three pitches eluded the Central Heights catcher over the next two Lady Bobcat batters, and Vincent came home to make it 4-0 Orangefield before the Blue Devils had even batted.

The Lady Bobcats threatened in the second with Hallie Becker at third base and two outs. Sanches was robbed of a hit on a sensational backhanded catch of her low line drive by the opposing third baseman.

There was some defense by Orangefield too with Paris Becker racing all the way to the leftfield fence to make a one handed catch to end the bottom of the first and later she literally stole a hit from a Blue Devil with a diving one handed catch in the fifth. Paisley Reeves playing third base lunged head first for a foul pop which she caught to end the bottom of the third.

Becker's catch in the fifth had added importance because Central Heights staged a rally that inning which got the Blue Devils their first run and would have been more if not for the stellar defense. Sanches was the beneficiary of the good glove work by the Lady Bobcats as she started in the circle.

With the score 4-1 Orangefield padded its lead in the sixth inning as Abby Broussard singled before moving to third on a sacrifice and a ground out. Aubree Beck doubled to bring Abby home and then scored herself from a throwing error on a grounder by Hallee Becker to put the Lady Bobcats up 6-1 with an inning to go.

Sanches started the top of the seventh with her second double of the game. Curphey clubbed a double to the leftfield fence to drive home Charlee. Vincent singled again bringing in Abigail for an 8-1 Orangefield lead.

Following a Central Heights error Reeves laid down a bunt on which Vincent exhibited some excellent base running. Alysen came down from third, waited for the throw to be made to first base before she raced home, and made a head first slide to score another Lady Bobcat run.

Haylee Spears kept the drive alive when she took a pitch for the team off her foot and limped to first base. Beck banged the next pitch off the top of the fence for another double to drive in two runs including Spears who was motoring around the bases.

Two further runs were added to complete a seven spot in the seventh that gave Orangefield a 13-1 advantage. Central Heights scored once in its half of the seventh, but Sanches completed the game with eight strikeouts and allowing just two runs in her seven innings of work.

The Orangefield Lady Bobcats pose after sweeping Central Heights in the opening round of the state softball playoffs

Orangefield Coach Rebekah Ragsdale knew it was going to take a team effort by the Lady Bobcats to beat Central Heights. Ragsdale commented, "We saw them last year, and they gave us fits. I was proud of our fight in the first game to come from behind which we've been doing all year. We joke about always finding ways to win. It was kind of nice to get some cushion in the last game even though I really can't breathe until the last out is made."

The competition stays tough for Orangefield in the second round of the state playoffs. The Lady Bobcats play Anderson Shiro the champions of District 23-3A who rolled over Boling 14-2 and 16-1 to sweep its first round series.

Orangefield and Anderson Shiro will play a best of three games series with all the games in Cleveland. The first game will be Thursday at 6:00 PM and the second game at 6:00 PM on Friday. A third game if necessary would be at noon on Saturday.

 

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