The El Campo Ladybirds played rough defensively in the early innings, but their offense saved the day, blowing out the Brazosport Lady Exporters 20-8 in a five-inning run-rule game at Legacy Field Tuesday night.
The Ladybirds got two home runs and seven RBIs from sophomore power-hitting shortstop Kate Bubela to help El Campo have their highest offensive output this season.
“She’s our most consistent hitter.She’s got very good bat control and (plate) discipline,” Ladybirds coach Roxanne Cavazos said.
“It was a team effort,” Bubela said. “I was just trying to (square) up the ball for my team so we could come out and win.”
Bubela’s offense along with the rest of the Ladybirds’ hits and runs were desperately needed after the first inning.
An error, a couple of mental mistakes defensively and walks kept the top of the first going with 11 batters reaching the plate and five runs scoring.
“Defense was tough today. We didn’t make the routine plays like we should have, there is always something to work on,” Cavazos said. “Lack of coummuncation hurt us and it’s something we’re going to have to work on.”
Despite trailing 5-0, the Ladybirds quickly took back control of the game in the bottom half of the inning.
El Campo’s first two batters reached base and Bubela brought them both home with a three-run blast over the centerfield wall. Two more runners reached and senior Allyson Rioux cleared the bases tying the game 5-5. After an error, a senior Mackenzie Matlock triple scored two runs and put the Ladybirds in front 7-5.
“(Starting) out like that and having our offense on is awesome to know, (the offense) always has our backs,” Bubela said.
The offense on both sides was hot, Brazosport answered, scoring two more runs in the next half-inning.
Rioux, with two outs and two on in the bottom of the second, brought home Bubela who was on third base to put them ahead 8-7.
Matlock, who started the game, was able to slow the Lady Exporters, allowing one more run over the final three innings to earn the win.
El Campo’s offense stayed hot, scoring at least one run in all five innings. The Ladybirds had another explosion of runs in the bottom of the third. With a run scored and two base runners on, Bubela hit her second three-run shot, again over the centerfield wall to make it 12-7. The Ladybirds executed two more runs both coming with two outs.
To stay with-in the run rule, with two outs and El Campo leading 17-8, Brazosport chose to not face Bubela again and instead load the bases. On the first pitch Matlock saw, she sent a line drive that bounced off the centerfield wall, clearing the bases and ending the game.
“Seeing the girls respond the way they did is shows a lot of character, growth and showing their understanding that their response needs to be quicker rather than later,” Cavazos said.
Five different Ladybirds had multihit days with Bubela, Rioux getting three hits each and driving in 11 runs between them.
The Ladybirds start district play on March 16. against Bellville, on the road.