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By Dan Perrine
For The Record 

Softball season comes to an end in Orange County


Last updated 5/14/2024 at 12:02pm

Bridge City pitcher Carson Fall had another strong effort in the tough loss to Liberty

The softball post season concluded for three local teams from Orange County on Thursday and Friday, May 9-10. Bridge City, Little Cypress Mauriceville, and Orangefield were all eliminated in the third round of the state UIL playoffs.

A magical season came to an end for the Bridge City Cardinals softball team on Thursday, May 9. The Cardinals lost 2-0 in a one game playoff with the Liberty Lady Panthers at Baytown.

Bridge City went undefeated winning twelve games without a loss in becoming the champions of District 19-4A. The Cardinals then swept two games from Huffman to open the playoffs and beat Lufkin Hudson in a one game playoff to advance to the third round of the post season.

The Cardinals' opponent in the third round the Liberty Lady Panthers are the powerhouse of softball in Texas having won multiple state championships and reaching the finals several times additionally in the last decade. Liberty came into Thursday's game with a season record of 34-2 having only lost to elite teams from Barbers Hill and Katy both in higher classifications.

The contest was a matchup of two outstanding pitchers with Carson Fall for Bridge City and Brookelyn Taylor of Liberty. The pitchers' duel lived up to its billing.

Fall who threw six no hitters in district and two more in the playoffs shutout the Lady Panthers during the first five innings. Liberty did get four hits off the Cardinal ace in those early innings.

Liberty's Taylor handcuffed the Cardinal hitters throughout the game. Senior Anna Autrey had the only hit and reached base later by an errant throw on a grounder. Haley Munoz was the only other Bridge City batter to reach base when she was hit by a pitch in the fourth the same inning Autrey got her base hit.

A strange twist in the sixth led to Liberty getting the first run of the game. Hollie Thomas coaxed a walk on a full count from Fall to start the inning. Bayleigh Taylor lined a drive to centerfield on which Nicole Sasser of the Cardinals made a sensational diving catch before throwing to first base to apparently get a double play on Thomas trying to get back to the base.

The umpires ruled Thomas had left first base before the pitch was made by Fall to Taylor which cancelled the whole great play by Sasser like it never happened. Thomas was ruled out but Taylor was still at bat, and she proceeded to ground a single to left.

Taylor stole second and went to third on a sacrifice. A two out bunt by Abby Vickers dropped in for a base hit as Taylor scored to give Liberty a 1-0 lead.

In the seventh inning Fall retired the first two Lady Panthers. The top of Liberty's batting order Bailee Slack then got her fourth hit of the game with a line drive to left that rolled all the way to fence allowing her to reach third base.

A pitch to the next batter got away, and Slack sprinted home with a second Lady Panther run. Fall registered her eleventh strikeout of the game to close the top of the seventh.

In the bottom half of the inning Autrey grounded to third but the throw deflected off the glove of the Liberty first baseman to allow Anna to reach base. Gabby Moore courtesy ran for her.

Taylor issued a wild pitch that moved Moore to second. The Liberty hurler got a pop up and then her eleventh strikeout which squashed the threat to end the season for Bridge City.

"I just told the girls it's been a successful season. I really praised our seniors. I think we did a lot this year to improve our program as a whole. You can't forget the Cardinals went two months without losing a game. They've built a program which our seniors have led, and I think we'll see that next year and the years to come," Cardinal Coach Kylie Bradley responded.

The Little Cypress Mauriceville Lady Bears came out of the batting cage roaring in their first game with the Bullard Lady Panthers on Wednesday. By Friday night the Lady Bears were quiet and headed home.

The best of three game series between LCM and Bullard was played in Lufkin with the first game on Wednesday and the second game two days later on Friday. A third game would have followed the second later that night.

The Lady Bears busted out with four runs in the first inning on Wednesday. The big blow was a two run homerun by Lexis Moss driving in Eden Frenzel in front of her.

Lady Panthers' pitching threw up a bulwark after that initial outburst by the Lady Bears' bats. Over the next thirteen innings Bullard would surrender only one more run to LCM.

The Lady Panthers came back to win the first game 10-4 using the long ball themselves. The story was pretty much the same in Friday's Game Two with Bullard taking a 7-1 victory to advance in the playoffs and eliminate the Lady Bears.

It was another good year for the Little Cypress Mauriceville softball program. The Lady Bears finished the year at 28-11 and made it to the third round of the post season which is always commendable.

LCM Coach Dena Adkins commented, "I am very proud of the season the team and coaching staff had this year. Every loss was a learning experience that we will grow from for the new season. Every victory was a team effort. It's always a great day to be a Bear."

The Orangefield Lady Bobcats completed a record year on Friday losing to the East Bernard Brahmas softball team. The two game series was played in Crosby.

Lady Bobcat Hallee Becker hit a two run inside the park homerun in the first game of Orangefield's playoff with East Bernard

The Lady Bobcats fell 7-2 to East Bernard in Game 1 on Thursday. Hallee Becker hit an inside the park homerun for Orangefield's two runs with Aubree Beck who had two hits also scoring. Abby Broussard had a single in the game.

The second game on Friday was dominated by the East Bernard pitching. The Lady Bobcats were shutout 7-0 to end their season.

"This year will go down as one of my favorite seasons. The girls love, encourage, and support each other like no other team I've ever had the opportunity to coach. I am so proud of how this team represented our program. This has been a special group of girls, and a team I will never forget," Orangefield Coach Rebekah Ragsdale expressed.

It was the winningest year in Orangefield softball history. The Lady Bobcats were 28-11-1 on the season, and the 28 wins is the most they have ever had in a year.


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