Lady Tigers bedevil Huntington
Taking advantage of some clutch hitting, the Rockdale Lady Tigers swept Huntington out of the playoffs 7-4, 6-4 at Mustang Field and reached the quarterfinal round for the first time since 2006.
The 21-5 Lady Tigers trailed in both contests, but timely hitting allowed them to pull ahead when the situation was right.
Rockdale moves on to battle No. 6 Pollock Central (29-5-1), who eliminated West in three games in area.
Due to wet field conditions in Klein (where the playoff series was originally set), the RHS Lady Tiger Softball team will travel to Pollock Central tonight to play on their home field at 6 p.m. Friday. Saturday's game will be played at 1 p.m. in Rockdale. Game 3 if necessary will be played 30 minutes following the second game.
The 21 wins is the most for the Lady Tigers since 2006. They have won seven in a row and eight of nine and during the streak have outscored their opponents 48-19.
“I am very proud of my girls heart and determination they showed this weekend,” said Rockdale Coach Amanda Keen. “We did not have a perfect series but we stayed in and fought every inning. They wanted this series really bad and did whatever it took to win.”
“We had several moments this weekend when the girls stepped up in the box. Emily McCoy had a great game in the box Friday night with Alyssa Wallis coming in with the clutch RBI to go ahead Friday night.
In the 7-4 series opening win, it was Alyssa Wallis who came to the rescue.
Hitting out of the No. 6 slot in the lineup and with just four runs batted in coming in, Wallis blasted a single up the middle in the seventh inning to bring home Marissa Mireles and Kayleigh Montelongo who had both walked, to break open a tie game and push Rockdale ahead 5-3.
The Lady Tigers tacked in two more runs in the inning on RBI singles from Amanda Boyd to score Faith Talley and Wallis to raise the lead to 7-3.
Huntington (20- 9) touched Montelongo for three singles and a run in the bottom of the seventh, but could get no closer as the Lady Tigers turned a double play to end the game and any chance of a rally.
In the second game on a sunsplashed Saturday, it was Talley who dispensed the damage.
With Rockdale holding on to a 3-1 lead in the second, Talley launched a towering home run to dead center field, that had there not been a stiff breeze blowing straight into home plate, it might still be circling Madisonville.
Talley’s blast—her team leading fourth of the season—scored Morgan Fischer and Montelongo who had both worked for baseon balls and made it 6-1.
Despite Huntington fireballer Erica Wright striking out 13 Lady Tigers in the opener, the timeliness of their seven hits and patience was crucial.
Highlighted by Wallis’ stroke, Rockdale strung together three hits and three base-on-balls to surge ahead in their final at-bat.
In the clincher, the Lady Tigers jumped on Wright early for two runs, two hits and three walks and she was gone after the first inning.
Lisa Vest got comfortable at the plate no matter who was pitching and the senior went 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles.
In the opener, McCoy was 3-for-4 with an RBI.
Rockdale was successful in the first game despite the fact that the 2-3-4-5 hitters in its lineup went 0-for-13 with seven strikeouts.
Montelongo raised her record to 20-5, which included her 50th career victory, extending her school record.
In the outings, the senior righthander struck out 11 batters, allowed 12 hits and more impressively, walked just two batters—one in each game.
Like the team the Lady Tigers just disposed of, Pollock Central has a rich softball history, capturing a state title in 1997.
The only sport the school doesn’t own a state championship in is football and they don’t field a team.
Pollock was knocked out of the quarterfinals round last year by eventual state champion Lufkin Hudson.
The Lady Dogs turned the tables on Hudson this season, taking District 20-3A with a 12-0 mark ahead of their league mate.
Huntington, which Rockdale just defeated, was third in District 20-3A and was beaten by Central 3-2 and 11-6 during the regular season. Central beat Hudson 1-0 and 2-1.
And, like most teams, Central’s best player is its pitcher, 6-foot sophomore Katelyn Boles on a team that is loaded with sophomores with a few juniors thrown in.
Power is provided by big junior first baseman Krissy Capps.
Jena Roland, another sophomore, was an all-state player last year for Central as a freshman.
Central knocked West out of the playoffs in three games.
LADY TIGER STATISTICS
Hitting (at bats-hits-avg)—Montelongo 26-55 .473; Mireles 24-59
.407; Talley 24-62 .387; Deary
24-62 .387; Fischer 19-50 .380;
Wright 6-16 .375; Boyd 24-65 .369;
Vest 24-65 .369; Wages 20-56
.357; Wallis 18-54 .333, McCoy
14-45 .311; Eubanks 1-5 .200.
Runs—Mireles 23, Boyd 17.
Doubles—Mireles 8, Talley 7.
Triples—Talley 4, Mireles 3.
Home runs—Talley 4, Deary 2.
RBI—Talley 14, Montelongo 12.
Steals—Mireles 8, Montelongo 6.
Pitching—Montelongo 20-5 1.59;
Fischer 1-0 5.00.
Rockdale 6, Huntington 4
Huntington 100 200 0—4 6 0
Rockdale 240 000 X—6 8 2
Anderson, Wright, Sones (2);
Wages and Montelongo. W-Montelongo (20-5). L-Wright. 2B-Broaddus (H), Mireles, Vest 2, Wallis (R).
HR-Talley (4). Records—Rockdale
21-5, Huntington 20-9. T-2:14.
Highlights: Talley HR 4RBI, Vest
4-4 2 2B,
Rockdale 7, Huntington 4
Rockdale 210 000 4—7 7 2
Huntington 100 101 1—4 6 4
Wages and Montelongo; Anderson and Wright. W-Montelongo
(19-5). L-Wright. 2B-Sones (H).
3B-Somes (H). Records—Rockdale 20-5, Huntington 20-8.
Highlights: Wallis 2RBI, McCoy
3-4 RBI, Montelongo 50th career