Montelongo lets go with home run show
Having won their first playoff series in six years with a 12-1, run-rule thrashing of Columbus in a single bi-district playoff game, the Lady Tigers head to area where a familiar and talented foe awaits.
No. 5 and District 22-3A champion Huffman-Hargrave (21-5) will challenge Rockdale (16- 9) Thursday at 7 p.m. in Waller in a one-game only, area playoff game.
Winner of the Hargrave- Rockdale game will face the victor of Sealy and Liberty next week in the region quarterfinals.
This will mark a rematch from 2010 when Rockdale jumped out to a 1- 0 lead in the bi- district series with a 4-0 shutout in the first game behind a brilliant pitching performance from then freshman pitcher Kayleigh Montelongo, who was returning from a torn ACL.
Current Lady Falcons Stephanie Barker and Kaeli Fletcher—
Who—Rockdale Lady Tigers (16- 9) vs. No. 5 Huffman-Hargrave (21-5). What—Class 3A, Region III, Area playoff. When—Thursday, 7 p.m.—one game only. Where—Waller High School. District—Rockdale finished second at 7-3 in 23-3A; Huffman- Hargrave was 11-1 and 22-3A champion. Last week—Rockdale def. Columbus 12-1; Huffman-Hargrave had a bye. Lady Falcons to watch—No. 11, So. Utility Kelsie McCeachern (.493, 16 2B, 28 RBI); No. 16, Sr. P Jessyka Baria (10-1, 2.30). Tickets—$4 adults, $2 students.
both seniors—started in that 2010 series, with two hits between them.
“ They want payback,” Rockdale coach Amanda Keen said. Rockdale had earned a bye in the first round of the playoffs that season.
After having lost four of five at one point early in the season, the Lady Falcons have reeled off 16 wins in their last 17 games. The only loss, a 5-4 upset loss to Liberty in district play.
Rockdale has won six of its last seven.
Huffman-Hargrave is led by sophomore Kelsie McCeachern who hops around on defense wherever they need her.
McCeachern is hitting .493 with 28 runs batted in on 16 doubles.
She has plenty of help as six Huffman-Hargrave players have knocked in at least 10 runs for a team that hits .369.
The Lady Falcons possess an excellent leadoff hitter in shortstop Bailey Sousa—another sophomore— who leads the team with a .521 batting average, who has swiped 19 bases in 24 attempts.
Baria (10-1, 2.30 ERA) is the finesse pitcher, while Soniat (9- 3, 1.64) is the f lame thrower, averaging almost 10 strikeouts per game.
They have allowed just 13 extra base hits in 2012, including no home runs .
Rockdale’s bats were on fire, putting up 12 runs on 13 hits against Columbus’ bull pen.
Junior ace Kayleigh Montelongo got it done on the mound and at the plate. She was two of four with two home runs and four RBIs on the afternoon.
On the mound, she gave up just two hits, one walk and fanned four batters.
The Lady Tigers were up 1-0 heading into the second inning where they busted the game open.
A single by Kayla Dear y, a double by Marissa Mireles and a single by Amanda Boyd all helped produce runs.
Montelongo’s first yarder for the game also scored Boyd and the Lady Tigers were up 6-0 that fast.
Lady Cards starting pitcher Lauren Zajicek was quickly pulled and replaced by Madison Olivarez. Both are sophomores.
In the third, Rockdale plated one more run when Lisa Vest scored on a single by Macy Wages. Columbus made several defensive changes that inning, due to catcher Lacie Schobel suffering from what seemed to be dehydration.
The Lady Tigers put up two
204526A01more runs in the top of the fourth to stretch their lead to nine. Those runs were fueled by doubles from Deary and Wages.
Columbus collected its only run in the bottom of the fourth on a hit by Tori Poenitzsch that scored Taylor Pavalock from first.
The Lady Tigers’ defense did a pretty stout job too, allowing just three Lady Card base runners the entire game.
On two different occasions relay throws from the outfield caught Columbus runners too far from the bag and they were tagged out.
In the top of the fifth, Rockdale put three more runs on the board to securing an early inning victory.
Mireles laced a triple to left field and then scored on a double by reserve Emily McCoy. Montelongo then hit her second homer of the game to add the final two runs.
Notably, Mireles, Deary and Vest were all two of four at the plate. Wages was two of three.
Coach Keen knew a great offensive effort by her squad would put them in the winner’s circle.
“We knew if we came out and hit the ball hat we had a shot,” she said. “We knew we had to jump on every opportunity and not let down.”
She also noted her solid roster as a true asset to the victory.
“ We’ve got great leadership (from our upper classmen) and girls coming off the bench and stepping up.”
LADY TIGER STATISTICS
HITTING—McCoy 4-7 .571; Newlin 21-47 .447; Drake 20-46 .435; Boyd 17-49 .386; Montelongo 15- 45 .333; Vest 13-51 .311; Deary 11-31 .355; Mireles 13-45 .289; Wages 6-36 .167; Fischer 5-45 .122; Wallis 1-8 .125; Talley 1-12 .083; Wright 0-1 .000. RBI—Montelongo 13, Boyd 14 Runs—Drake 13, Vest 13 2B—Montelongo 5, Newlin 4 3B—Boyd 2, Mireles 2 HR—Montelongo 2, Vest 1 SB—Boyd 5, Drake 3 Pitching—Montelongo 15-9, 3.91, Wages 1- 0 2.00.