George Ranch capitalized on a first-inning crack in the Alvin Lady Yellowjackets’ playoff armor and rode the early momentum to a 3-0 Class 6A Bi-district softball triumph here Thursday night.
The District 24-6A champion Lady Jackets close their stellar season at 24-8-1, while Ranch advances to face either Kingwood or La Porte in the area round later this week.
While the game was played here, the Lady Jackets served as the visitors and appeared ready to take advantage of having the first at-bat. Catcher Ciara Jimenez led off the game with a walk and third baseman Mary Pourcio drilled a single to center field to immediately put two runners aboard.
However, Lady Longhorns’ hurler Alyssa Osadchuk coaxed a 5-3 double play ball off Rachel Hertenberger’s bat and retired Avery Hearn on a grounder to third base to end the threat, while Ranch struck for three tallies during the frame’s bottom half.
The Lady Jackets never recovered from the above chain of events.
“We hit some shots, but we hit it right at them and could never get anything going,” Lady Jackets’ head coach David McCorkle said. “We tried to get a big inning going in the first, but we grounded out into the double play and could never get anything going.
“I thought we did a pretty good job at the plate. We just hit it right at them. Like last year, we had a great year and at some point, you got to remember the ride, not to crash. We crashed tonight. I think we were clearly the better team. We just couldn’t push any runs across to open it up. We did a lot of good things offensively, but we just didn’t do enough.”
Unfortunately for the Lady Jackets, Ranch’s outburst in the bottom of the first inning proved to be enough for the 23- 6A fourth seeded Lady Longhorns to pull off the first-round upset.
Remme Loos singled to right field to start things, while consecutive bunt hits by Reese Scott and Destiny Walker quickly loaded the bases. Hertenberger got Taylor Pesina to ground into a fielder’s choice, with Pourcio’s throw to Jimenez forcing Loos at the plate.
Hertenberger then pulled ahead 0-2 of Shelby Kvinta in the count, only to have the Lady Longhorns’ senior reach out at the third offering and poke an opposite field single field to right, scoring both Scott and Walker for a 2-0 Ranch lead. Back to-back walks to Hanna Spaulding and JJ Smith led to the third run crossing the plate.
Alvin had its chances to get back in the contest, but left two runners on base during both the second and third frames. Osadchuk snared a liner off Khori Bolton’s bat back at the circle to close the latter inning.
Pourcio drew a two-out walk in the fifth, but Hertenberger’s liner was flagged down in left field. While Lady Jackets’ pinch hitter Shelby Stone also reached base with two outs in the top of the seventh on a walk, Osadchuk coaxed Jimenez’s game-ending pop fly to Kvinta at third.
Hertenberger struck out 11 for Alvin to raise her nation-leading total to 326 K’s for the season. Along with breaking both the AHS Softball career and single season strikeout marks this season, Hertenberger also tied Amber Anderson’s single season win total for an Alvin pitcher with 24 victories in 2018.
Thursday’s loss also marked the first time the Lady Jackets have been eliminated in back-to-back seasons during the first round since the 1996 and 1997 campaigns.
However, Alvin wasn’t the only district softball champion to suffer the upset bug... Click here to read full article