Lady Tigers hang tough for possible playoff spot

Montelongo’s debut sparks team to fourth straight
Reporter/ Bill Martin

Freshman Kayleigh Montelongo  returned early from a knee injury suffered in basketball  and is 2-0 in her two starts since coming back. Freshman Kayleigh Montelongo returned early from a knee injury suffered in basketball and is 2-0 in her two starts since coming back. Having lost three of four and sitting at 2-5 in the district standings, the Rockdale Lady Tigers were at a decided turning point in their season.

It was sink or swim time.

The Lady Tigers chose to keep their heads above water and recorded their fourth straight victory Tuesday night, 9-5, over Caldwell at Lady Hornet Field.

The w in boosts Rockdale’s record to 15-11 on the season and lifts them above .500 in District 24-3A for the first time this season at 6-5.

Rockdale sits in fourth place as of Tuesday behind Taylor (10- 0), Cameron (7-3) and Caldwell (6-4).

With such a jumble in the middle of the district pack, it may be Tuesday night before the Lady Tigers learn of their playoff fate—that is, if they can knock off district front runner Taylor in the final regular season game Tuesday.

Caldwell has Taylor and Cameron left, while Cameron has Navasota and Caldwell.

Should Rockdale and Caldwell tie for third place, the Tigers have the tie-breaker becasue they have beaten the Hornets twice.

Rockdale has been bolstered by the surprise debut of freshman pitcher Kayleigh Montelongo, who returned early from a knee injury suffered in basketball.

Montelongo, who was expected to act as the Lady Tigers’ frontline pitcher was not expected to play this season.

“I was very impressed with Kayleigh’s performance on the mound,” said Rockdale Coach Kristen Gunter. “Not a person in the stands would have ever known it was her first outing this year. She had the composure and fight of an all district pitcher. I am looking forward to seeing this from her for the remainder of the season.”

In her two wins since debuting, the righthander has struck out 17 batters, including nine against Caldwell Tuesday.

She has also only walked two batters.

Against Caldwell, Montelongo got plenty of support as the Lady Tigers punched out 14 hits and strung together seven runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

Kelsey Fisher sparked Rockdale with a home run and four runs batted in, while also swiping three bases.

Kassie Roddam went 4-for-4 and also scored four times while stealing three bases.

In the Lady Tigers’ 4-3 victory over Navasota Friday night, they put up a steady stream of runs for a 3-0 lead, then staved off a Lady Rattler comeback bid in Montelongo’s debut.

Megan Hearn was 3-for-4 and Roddam stole six bases.

NOTES: Rockdale Coach Kristen Gunter is a nominee for the UIL All-Century softball team. Gunter was an A ll-American catcher at Brenham. To vote for her, go the the UIL web site and click on the softball site...Kassie Roddam has now stolen 52 bases on the season, which gives her 106 for her career and 103 in a row. Roddam has also scored 119 runs and has 142 hits.
Team District Overall
Taylor 10-0 N/A
Cameron 7-3 16-13
Caldwell 6-4 14-8
Rockdale 6-5 15-11
Navasota 3-6 N/A
Bryan Rudder 2-9 4-19
Madisonville 1-8 N/A
Tuesday’s scores: Rockdale 9,
Caldwell 5; Taylor 6, Navasota 2;
Cameron 3, Bryan Rudder 1.
Friday’scores: Rockdale 4, Navasota
3; Taylor 3, Bryan Rudder 1.

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