The El Campo Ladybirds run-ruled the Sealy Lady Tigers 17-3 in five innings Friday night at home to clinch the second playoff seed in District.
El Campo and Sealy both came into the game with two losses in District. By beating Sealy, El Campo can finish no worse than a tie, with Friday’s win over the Lady Tigers, the Ladybirds beat them twice in the season and own the tie-breaker.
In the first game between the two teams earlier in the season, the Ladybirds eeked out a 17-16 win on the road. The rematch brought the same amount of offense, but the Ladybirds pitched and played a better defensive game and they held Sealy to three runs.
“This game we just got ahead and we all played together as one and hit the ball,” senior Natalia Terrell said.
The Ladybirds started off the game in the hole. Sealy led off the game with a triple, the Lady Tiger ended up coming around to score to put them up 1-0.
El Campo answered the score with a barrage of hits and runs in following half inning to put the game out of reach. With one out and two on, senior Karsyn Russell belted out a double off the wall, a few inches from a home run, tieing the game. Terrell singled up the middle to score two more and senior Ashley Lilie smashed a home run over the centerfield wall to put El Campo up 5-1.
“It’s so much fun,” Russell said. “Once one person gets a big hit everybody gets hits. Everybody feeds off the energy.”
With the bases cleared, three straight singles loaded the bases. A fielders choice brought home the sixth Ladybird run and senior Peyton Stock doubled home two more. Russell came up for the second time in the inning and singled with a deep line drive to right field to score two more and give the Ladybirds a 10-1 lead.
“It’s really big as a team to have those innings where everybody is pumped up. Everybody is happy and everybody is scoring,” Russell said. “It’s so much fun you can’t even explain it.”
In the bottom of the first, the Ladybirds sent 14 batters to the plate, collected eight hits and came a triple away from hitting for the cycle as a team.
Russell sat down the next five Sealy batters in order before they put together one last rally. With two quick outs in the top of the third inning, Sealy put two runners on base with a single and a double. The Lady Tigers hit a grounder to deep second base, to score two. Russell came back and induced a grounder back to her to end the inning and the scare.
The Ladybirds’ offense continued to poundout runs and hits, scoring two more to answer Sealy in the bottom half of the inning. In the fourth inning, with two outs, two on and the score 14-3, Terrell hit a towering home run over the centerfield wall.
“(Outside) of practice, that’s the hardest I’ve hit a ball all season,” Terrell said. “It was a fastball right down the middle, I just knew right off the bat that ball was out of here.”
With the home run, the Ladybirds five-hole hitter, Terrell had three hits and drove had 6 RBIs.
“I felt really good about my (game) and my teammates, we all did good,” Terrell said.
Facing the top of the Sealy order, Russell used eight pitches to finish off the win. For the senior pitcher, she learned from the first game with Sealy and wasn’t going to miss over the plate in the re-match.
“That’s really what I focused on in this game, pitching in the river, in between the batter’s box and corner’s on the plate,” Russell said.
And it worked only giving up four hits and three earned runs in her five innings of work.
Overall as a team, Friday night was a 13 run improvement from the first game they played with Sealy earlier in the season.
“I think the big difference was (Russell) kept the ball low in the zone,” Coach Roxanne Cavazos said. “Also with our hitters, we were more disciplined at the plate. We helped out our team by picking each other up more.”