Speedy Lady Spartans race by Lady Elks late
It was clear from the start of the game that Burleson had wiped away all memory of last season’s 19-0 softball playoff loss to Centennial.
Thanks to solid defense and timely hitting plus a few early mistakes by the Lady Spartans, the Lady Elks found themselves holding a 2-1 lead Monday heading to the fifth inning.
The Lady Elks dreams of a victory over the Lady Spartans disappeared in the fifth inning.
Centennial scored five runs in the fifth on the way to an 8-2 victory.
“We talked before the game and said that 19-0 was never going to happen again,” Burleson coach Summer Owen said. “I think it speaks volumes how we played Centennial. We had 10 hits to their 16. We just didn’t have them at the right time.”
The Spartans offense supported the pitching of starter Crystal Peebles and reliever Hayley Murrell. Peebles allowed two runs in 3.1 innings with three strikeouts. Murrell tossed 3.2 scoreless innings while fanning two.
“Peebles and Murrell complimented each other tonight,” Centennial coach Shannon Sullivan said. “Peebles was effective at hitting her spots and showing what their weaknesses were. Murrell came in and closed the job.”
In the fifth, Centennial’s Kylee Gowin lead-off the inning reaching on a error and Sydney Friend followed with a single. The Lady Spartans tied the game at 2-2 on Haley Kimberling’s RBI single. Gracie Morton broke things open with a two-run triple for a 4-2 lead.
With one out, Reagan Ellison doubled in Morton and with two-out, Carley Eller’s double scored Ellison.
“We finally executed a few hit-and-runs and got the ball rolling and didn’t look back,” Sullivan said.
The Spartans added a pair of runs in the fifth on Marley Eller’s RBI double and a Karter Hill run-scoring ground out.
Centennial took a 1-0 lead in the third with two-out when Friend singled and scored on a Kimberling double.
“We had a couple of offensive blunders early,” Sullivan said. “We had runners in scoring position and we left them there. Things happen, mistakes are made but it is all about how you respond to it afterwards. We responded well.”
In the bottom of the inning, the Lady Elks rallied with two out. With Natali Wheeler at second following a double, Kyleigh Rich lined a run-scoring single to center that tied the game. Zoe Miranda and Lauren Isbell singled to load the bases.
Burleson took the lead when Sarah Alexander looped a single over first base that scored Rich, but Miranda was thrown out trying to score to end the inning.
Centennial and Burleson return to 9-5A play Tuesday as the Lady Spartans play at Cleburne and the Lady Elks host Crowley. On March 24, Centennial hosts Joshua and Burleson plays at Everman.
Friday, Centennial parlayed 14 hits into a 13-2 district win over Crowley.
Carley Eller drove in four runs while Marley Eller doubled twice and had three RBIs. Morton drove in two runs and doubled. Kimberling tripled and Ellison doubled.
Murrell and Peebles combined over five innings to hold the Lady Eagles to four hits and an unearned run. Murrell fanned seven.
The Lady Spartans followed up Monday’s win with a 4-0 district home win over Granbury at Centennial.
Murrell tossed a four-hit complete game and fanned nine Lady Pirates. Collecting an RBI each for Centennial in the win were Friend, Marley Eller, Ellison and Presley Green. Morton tripled while Hill and Green doubled.
The Lady Elks lost at Joshua Friday, 6-1, in 9-5A play. Alexander had a pair of hits and doubled in Burleson’s lone run. Wheeler collected three hits in the loss and doubled.
Tuesday afternoon, Rich returned to the circle blanking Arlington Seguin for four innings. Rich allowed two hits and struck out five as the Lady Elks defeated the Lady Cougars, 16-0, on the road.
Saeya Esparza led the offensive attack with a double and three RBI. Wheeler and Miranda had two RBIs.