Lady Tigers earn final playoff position
Rockdale 3, Taylor 2.
The Lady Tigers (16-11 overall, 7-5 in District 24-3A) will represent the district as the third place team in the state playoffs with Taylor (11-1) as district champions.
Cameron’s Lady Yoe (18-13, 7-5) blanked Caldwell on the road 14-0 Tuesday, putting them as the league’s second place team and pushing Caldwell out of harm’s way.
Had the Lady Tigers and Lady Hornets finished in a tie for third, Rockdale had the upper hand, having defeated Caldwell twice during the season.
The Lady Tigers are the only blemish on Taylor’s distr ict record.
“We’ve been working hard all year to come out be mentally and physically tough for twenty-seven outs,” Rockdale Coach Kristen Gunter said. “They all did their part tonight. There’s not just one player that won the game for us.”
The victory was the fifth in a row for Rockdale and the postseason berth is the second under Gunter in as many years. The Lady Tigers went in as the third place team in 2009 as well.
The Lady Tigers will play a warm up game at Gunter’s alma mater, Brenham at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Last season Rockdale was 12-11 in Gunter’s inaugural year, losing to then No. 5 ranked Splendora in the bi-district round.
The Lady Tigers will face No. 13 Huffman-Hargrave (19-4) out of District 22-3A in bi-district at a date, site and time yet to be determined.
Kayleigh Montelongo tossed the win for Rockdale, striking out 12 Lady Ducks and issuing just two walks.
This marked the freshmen’s third win in as many starts after she missed most of the season with a knee injury that required surgery.
Taylor’s offense struck first in the top of the third with back to back singles. With two outs, Lady Duck Selena Lopez, hit a shot up the middle, just out of reach of short stop Kassie Roddam, for a double, scoring a run.
Rockdale hitters answered with a fury.
Jill Young led off the at bat with a single. Marisa Mireles would strike out swinging, but Brianna Mireles would follow with a walk.
Roddam would slap the ball between pitcher’s mound and second and the Lady Ducks would get Brianna Mireles on the force at second, but Roddam would beat the attempt for a double play.
The senior then stole her 53rd base of the season to reach second.
Fellow senior Kelsey Fischer hit a 2-0 pitch just over second base, scoring two runs and Megan Hearn would follow with a single to center field, scoring Fischer.
That is all the cushion the Lady Tigers would need, going up 3-1 after three.
The longer she pitched, the better Montelongo got. In the top of the fifth she threw just 14 pitches, retiring the side. Of the 97 pitches she threw, 63 were for strikes. Montelongo gave up just six hits on the night.
Taylor would threaten in the top of the sixth with two outs when Tara Eulenfeld hit a double into right field. She would then steal third and home on passed balls at the plate. Montelongo would then throw three straight strikes to end the threat.
The freshman ace finished the game retiring the side again in the top of the seventh.
Taylor pitcher Lopez, who is also a freshman, struck out five Lady Tigers, walked three and gave up eight hits.
NOTES: The Lady Tigers were to have hosted Liberty Hill on Friday, but the game was canceled due to wet weather conditions... Rockdale Coach Kristen Gunter is a nominee for the UIL All-Century softball team. Gunter was an All-American catcher at Brenham. To vote for her, go the the UIL web site and click on the softball site... Roddam now has 107 career stolen bases, including 104 in a row.
Tuesday’s scores: Rockdale 3, Taylor 2; Cameron 14, Caldwell 0; Navasota 2, Madisonville 1.
Friday’s scores: Taylor 5, Caldwell 1; Cameron 2, Navasota 1 (8 inn);