Lady Dogs headed for regional quarterfinals
The Thorndale Lady Dogs softball team took on the Normangee Lady Panthers at Caldwell in the area round of the playoffs. The Lady Dogs swept the Lady Panthers 2-0.
Up next for the Lady Dogs will be the Latexo Tigresses in the regional quarterfinals. Game 1 will be in Madisonville on Thursday at 5 p.m., game 2 will be in Mumford at 7 p.m., and if needed, game 3 will be on Saturday at 5 p.m. in Madisonville.
Game 1 against Normangee was on Friday, and Thorndale won big over the Lady Panthers 8-1 to take the series lead. Thorndale got things moving in the first inning with a 2-0 lead. Raeghan Carlson drove in one when she doubled on a line drive to centerfield, which was followed with a single by Bailee Baker. The Lady Dogs pulled away with four runs in the third inning to make the lead 6-0. Thorndale’s offense in the inning was helped by walks from Karis Ginn and Reagyn Trahan, along with throwing errors by Normangee.
Thorndale scored one more run in the fourth inning and another in the fifth. The run in the fourth inning came from a solo home run by Kelsey Kovar, and the run in the fifth inning came from a single by Landri Martinka. The Lady Panthers scored a run in the seventh inning on a solo home run, but their rally stopped there as the Lady Dogs came out with the 8-1 victory.
The Lady Dogs tallied 11 hits in the game. Ginn, Bailee Baker, Carlson, Martinka, and Kovar all managed multiple hits for Thorndale. Ginn went 3-for-3 at the plate to lead the team in hits. The defense for Thorndale was sure-handed as they didn’t commit a single error. Along with being outstanding on offense, Ginn was also the winning pitcher for the Lady Dogs. She lasted all seven innings, allowing just two hits and one run while striking out eight.
The Bulldogs came back on Saturday with their foot on the gas pedal as they handily defeated Normangee 15-2 in five innings due to the enforcement of the 10 run rule to win the series and advance. The Lady Dogs came out on fire and put up a whopping nine runs in the first inning. The offensive onslaught came from singles by Kelsey Kovar, Bailee Baker, and Natalie Garcia, a triple by Reagyn Trahan, a groundout by Kassidy Eubanks, and an error on a ball put in play by Kovar.
The Lady Dogs added on with two more runs in the third inning. The scoring came from Garcia scoring on a wild pitch from the Normangee pitcher along with a double by Garcia. After the Lady Panther made the score 11-2 with a run in the third inning and one in the fourth, Thorndale responded with four fifth run innings to lead 15-2. The runs came from doubles by Raeghan Carlson and Bailee Baker, a single from Karis Ginn, and a solo home run by Emilee Baker.
“We told them it was going to be hot, but it’s going to be hot for both teams,” Coach Lance Betak said. “They’re the ones having to fight and scrap to make sure we get it to a third game. We can just be relaxed, go out there, and get on top of them early and make it even hotter feeling to them being down a game, plus down quite a few runs. Scoring nine was just a bonus. I was hoping for two or three and we scored nine. I felt really confident we could relax. We let up a little bit in the middle of the game, which I wasn’t happy about, but then we refocused in that last inning and scored all those runs, had a good defensive inning, and then shut them out there at the end to finish the game.”
Thorndale racked up 15 hits on the day. Garcia, Trahan, Ginn, and the Baker sisters each had multiple hits for the Lady Dogs. Baker went 4-for-4 at the plate to lead the team in hits.
“Yesterday we had to piece together one run, two runs here, we kind of just gradually built ourselves up,” Betak said. “Once we had the one game in our pocket, and we were the visiting team, I said, let’s go score two, three, four runs, something like that, get on them and make it tough for them the rest of the day, which is the advantage of being the visiting team if you score some runs. If you don’t, then now you’re behind and they come up and score, then they have the momentum. That was big and huge for us. And we had a couple breaks in that first inning; they misplayed a couple of balls; we had a strikeout in the first inning we ran it out. We had a couple of breaks in the first inning, but we also hit the ball better together than we did yesterday. We had a lot of hits last night but we didn’t string as many together as we did in the first inning and the sixth inning.”
Karis Ginn was the winning pitcher for Thorndale. She allowed eight hits and just two runs over five innings, striking out seven and walking one.
“She changed speeds a little bit more today, which helped, she was ahead a little bit more, which helped,” Betak said. “She threw a couple of change ups for strikes. Last night, they were just a hair high, but today she threw them for strikes, and again, our defense played behind her like they always did. Those two always go hand and hand. If you have a 15-strikeout pitcher, your defense doesn’t do much. Karis has 5, 6, 7 strikeouts a game and the defense helps the rest of the time, so it was defense and the pitching combined today.”