The Orange Leader
PORT NECHES —
After stranding runners in scoring position three straight innings, the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Lady Bears made sure it wasn’t going to happen again in the top of the sixth inning against Port Neches-Groves.
The Lady Bears erased a one-run deficit by scoring six runs on five hits in the sixth to dart past the Lady Indians 9-4 to stay perfect in District 20-4A play.
LC-M (23-4, 9-0) pounded out 12 hits against PN-G (13-9, 5-4) pitchers Shelby Valentine and Maci Dean. The Lady Bears also picked up a pair of solo home runs from Taylor Fraccastoro and Kassie James.
“We felt comfortable coming in that we could hit the ball,” said LC-M coach Dena Adkins. “We were hitting it hard early, but right at people. Then we started to leave runners stranded out there. I had faith that the kids would keep battling and they exploded there in the sixth.”
Hope Russell got the win in relief on the LC-M mound. She tossed the final 3 2/3 innings, allowing one hit while striking out two and walking one. Raven Cole pitched the first 3 1/3 innings, allowing four hits while fanning seven and walking two.
“Hope came in there and did what she always can do, and that’s close,” said Adkins. “We always know we can count on her. Raven was a little frustrated there in that third inning but she’s a battler. She had a big two-run double that sparked us there late.”
Trailing 4-3 entering the sixth, the Lady Bears tied things up quickly when Morgan Babineaux tripled down the rightfield line and scored when there was an errant toss back into the infield.
Russell and Angel Villanueva picked up back-to-back singles to knock Valentine out of the game. Valentine worked five frames, allowing four hits while striking out two and walking one.
Mikaela Stegall loaded the bases with a infield hit off Dean. Kaleigh Roy reached on a fielder’s choice as Russell was forced out at home. James brought in the game-winning run with a bases-loaded walk that scored Villanueva but the Lady Bears were far from through.
Cole crushed a Dean offering for a two-run double to left-centerfield and with two outs, Chelsea McLain roped a two-run single to left.
Dean worked two innings, allowing four hits while striking out three.
Fraccastoro, using her new bat for the first time, put the Lady Bears on top 1-0 in the top of the second with a towering solo home run over the centerfield wall.
PN-G scratched in a run in the bottom of the third.
With one out, Nicole Thorn got on after getting hit by a Cole pitch and Rikki Gilbert slapped a RBI triple to right-centerfield.
LC-M snagged a 2-1 edge in the top half of the fourth.
McLain notched a one-out single and Babineaux followed with a infield single. Russell reached on a fielder’s choice and McLain scored when Blythe Ferguson was hit by a Valentine pitch with the bases juiced.
PN-G grabbed a 4-2 advantage in the bottom of the fourth. Ryanne Lunceford drew a leadoff walk and Kati Lee ripped a one-out Cole pitch for a two-run home run over the left-centerfield fence to make it 3-2. After Tori Jackson singled to left, Madison Resch plated her with a double to right.
James pulled the Lady Bears to within one in the top of the fifth when she took a Valentine pitch deep over the centerfield fence.
This is Coach Adkins’ sixth year leading the Lady Bears and the win was extra sweet because LC-M had lost its last four games at Lady Indian Field.
“It’s always nice to come over here and get a win because it’s a tough place to play,” said Adkins. “It isn’t going to get any easier next week because we’ve got to come this way to play Nederland. It’s a game the kids are certainly eager to play.”
The Lady Bears will visit Nederland on Apr. 5 and will host Beaumont Ozen Apr. 6.