Huffman-Hargrave rallies to outlast Lady Tigers
Lanky lefty Holly Soniat came in and put the clamps on any hope of a Rockdale comeback in a 7-3 Class 3A, Region III area victory for No. 5 Huffman-Hargrave Thursday night at the expansive Waller Sports Complex.
Fresh off their first playoff series win in six years and with a five game win-streak in tow, the Lady Tigers finish up 17-10.
Huf f ma n-Ha rg rave (22- 5) travels on to face Liberty in the regional quarterfinals and have captured 17-of-18.
“I am very proud of how we came out and fought against Huffman Hargrave,” said Rockdale Coach Amanda Keen, finishing up her second year here. “We battled against the number five team in the state and never gave up.”
The Lady Falcons had rallied to grab a 4-3 lead in the top of the third when Soniat (10-3) entered the contest in the bottom of the inning, replacing inef fective senior Jessyka Baria.
The pencil-t hin f reshma n struck out six of the first seven batters she faced and retired 15 of the 16 hitters she faced in five innings of relief.
Kayla Deary ruined Soniat’s perfect evening by spanking a single to right in the seventh inning.
Soniat entered the game averaging 10 strikeouts per game and finished with eight on Thursday evening.
Rockdale jumped all over her predecessor Baria with three hits and three runs in the second inning.
Senior Victoria Drake—in her final outing as a Lady Tiger athlete— clubbed two doubles from her leadoff spot, the second one producing two runs.
Trailing 2-0, Lisa Vest opened the second with a single and scored on a throwing error by Huffman- Hargrave catcher Loren Dempsey to cut the lead in half.
Deary then reached on a fielder’s choice and Maci Wages coaxed a walk before Drake’s blast to center field pushed the Lady Tigers ahead 3-2.
Enter Soniat, who struck out the side in the third in her first inning of work.
The Lady Falcons strung together three singles to take back the lead 4-3 in the top of the third and then added three insurance runs in the top of the seventh on a pair of Rockdale errors and a pair of hits.
The Lady Tigers committed five errors on the evening.
Rockdale hurler Kayleigh Montelongo kept the top of the Lady Falcon order in check as the first four hitters went just two-for-16 with only one run batted in.
The rest of the lineup collected eight hits.
Montelongo (16-10) allowed 10 hits and did not walk a batter while fanning seven.
The Lady Tigers, who were second in district, lose just two starters in outfielder Drake and steady catcher Britni Newlin, their two top hitters for most of the season.
“We did struggle at the beginning of the season but we started coming together and did some great things,” said Keen, now 28-19 at Rockdale. “I am very thankful to have had our two seniors Victoria and Newlin. Both of these girls brought the leadership that we needed to be the team we became. They will truly be missed.”
Huffman-Hargrave 7, Rockdale 3 Huffman 022 000 3—7 10 1 Rockdale 030 000 0—3 4 5
W-Soniat (11-3). L-Montelongo (16-10). 2B-Drake 2 (R), Bardwell, Fletcher, Dempsey (HH). Records— Rockdale 17-10, Huffman-Hargrave 22-5.