RUSK — Lovelady pushed across two runs in the first inning and made that hold up, handing the Beckville Ladycats a 3-1 loss to sweep a Class 2A regional semifinal playoff series.
Beckville scored once in the top of the fifth to make it a 2-1 contest, but Lovelady added a run in the bottom half to put things away.
Beckville (24-9) managed just one hit in the contest, a single by Jaden McDaniel. Ally LaGrone took the pitching loss. She struck out six, walked five and gave up three earned runs on six hits.
Game 1: Lovelady 7, Beckville 0 (8)
RUSK — Although not near as impressive looking, the pitching line of Beckville’s Ally LaGrone was every bit as effective as that of Lovelady’s MiMi Sandoval Wednesday evening.
Seven innings and seven zeroes on the scorebook.
But that all changed in the blink of an eye.
The Lady Lions scored seven runs in the top of the eighth to take a 7-0 win over the LadyCats in Game 1 of the best-of 3 Region II semifinal series.
“One inning killed us,” Beckville Coach Winston Whiddon said. “That’s just the way it works sometimes.”
Actually, the pitching line may have been a lot more impressive as Sandoval struck out 12 of the first 15 batters she faced; she was perfect until giving up a leadoff walk in the sixth and gave up her only hit with one out in the seventh.
She struck out 18 batters, and 15 of them were swinging.
“We’re just going to have to lay off her high pitches,” Whiddon said. “We have to make her bring it down because we can’t hit it. Although as long as we keep swinging at it, she’ll keep throwing it.”
A single and an error to start the bottom of the eighth made things look bad, but the LadyCats got the lead runner a third on a sacrifice attempt.
Speedster Jacy Stubblefield made them pay for a little indecision on the bases. She was safe at third when they tried to throw behind the runner and then scored when the LadyCats were messing with the runner on first to make it 1-0.
The rally continued with two singles, a hit batter, a walk and three more singles to make it 7-0 before Beckville finally got out of the inning.
The LadyCats went down in order in the bottom of the eighth on strikes.
“We’ll be ready to play,” Whiddon said. “It’s just one of those deals. The girls have been here before. We have to adjust and hopefully get a few runs on the board this time.”
LaGrone gave up seven hits and struck out six in the circle for the LadyCats.