By Greg Ford
GRAND SALINE — There’s definitely more good news than bad coming out of Wylie’s regional quarterfinal loss to Hallsville.
Despite falling 11-2 and 6-5 to the state-ranked Lady Cats — the second game ended with Hallsville scoring on a wild pitch — the Maroon and White exits the 2014 season knowing it has established a very solid foundation on which to build future success.
That’s because the Lady Pirates are a team that’ll graduate just one player, first baseman Aubrey Barr, and which enjoyed a highly successfully season that saw them win the District 13-4A crown, as well as the bi-district and area-round titles.
“We’re pretty young,” head coach Heather Damron said. “We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores, so we have a lot to look forward to in the next couple of seasons.”
She added, “We have a team. The girls love each other and care about each other. We have some chemistry, and if you don’t have some of that you can take the most talent in the world, and it’s not going anywhere.”
That “chemistry” was on display Saturday during Game 2 at Grand Saline High School.
Less than 24 hours earlier on the same field, the Lady Cats buried Wylie under a barrage of early-inning hits and runs. That was not the case during Game 2, as pitcher Brooke Dumas and her teammates shut down Hallsville, surrendering just one run over the first five innings.
Meanwhile, the Lady Pirates scored twice during that stretch, starting in the top of the first, which began with Jessica Lee nailing the game’s opening pitch to left field for a double. Following a sacrifice fly by Katelyn Belch, which moved Lee to third, Dumas singled to left for a 1-0 lead.
Wylie’s second run came in the top of the fourth, when Serena Saldivar hit a one-out double to center and then moved to third on an overthrow back to the infield. Saldivar scored when Addie Allard reached first on an error.
“Even in the first game, we jammed them on the hands, hitting off the end of the bats, but they were getting just enough of it to bloop it over our infield,” Damron said. “Today, we adjusted our defense a little bit and took some of those away. We hit as well as we did (Friday). We gave ourselves a chance.”
Hallsville scored a run in the bottom of the fourth, and then went ahead 5-2 with a four-run, two-out rally in the sixth inning.
However, if the Lady Cats and their fans thought that ended matters, they were quickly dispelled of that notion, as Wylie rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh.
“That concerns you in the sense that we were up and then down by three,” Damron said, “but this team has so much fight that I knew they weren’t going to give up. I knew they were going to go out there and give it their best shot and they did.”
The Lady Cats then got a runner on third with two outs in the bottom of the seventh in the form of Cassidy Ferrell. She scored soon afterwards on the wild pitch.