The Orange Leader
LITTLE CYPRESS —
Surviving a major threat by Orange County rival Vidor, the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Lady Bears squeezed out a tough 2-1 victory over the Lady Pirates in District 20-4A action at Lady Bear Field Friday night to finish the first half of district play with a perfect mark.
Lady Bear junior Hope Russell, who went 3-for-4, had the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth inning to bring in Taylor Fraccastoro.
The Lady Bears (21-4, 7-0) had two outs as they started the rally against the Lady Pirates (16-6, 5-2). Taylor Fraccastoro and Chelsea McLain reached on back-to-back infield singles off Vidor reliever Whitney Howerton and Russell followed with a hard shot that rifled cleanly through the legs of Lady Pirate shortstop Keeli Milligan as Fraccastoro hustled in for the game-winning run.
Hits were certainly hard to come by for both teams as the pitching was outstanding.
LC-M ace Raven Cole worked all nine innings, allowing just a mere four hits while striking out a whopping 17 while walking five.
Vidor starter Gia Johns and Howerton were both solid throughout.
Johns worked the first four innings, allowing three hits while fanning four and walking two. Howerton pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing just three hits while striking out five and walking two.
In the top half of the third Vidor got a one-out infield single by Keeli Milligan but she was eventually thrown out by LC-M catcher Taylor Fraccastoro on a steal attempt at second on a superb throw. The Lady Pirates kept battling as Kalli Edwards drew a two-out walk and Shanice Hagler hit a towering RBI double to the leftfield wall to plate Edwards to tie things up at 1-1.
The Lady Bears clawed their way to a run in the bottom of the first.
Mikaela Stegall led off with a perfect bunt single towards first base. Stegall moved to second after a nice sacrifice bunt by Kayleigh Roy.
With two outs, Cole lifted a deep fly ball that was dropped near the wall in leftfield as Stegall was able to scoot home on the error.
Hagler had a one-out infield single in the top of the eighth but Ashley Bunner hit a line drive out to stellar Lady Bear third baseman Kassie James, who launched it to first for a double play.
The Lady Pirates threatened in the top of the second when Johns roped a leadoff double to left but Cole got out of it when she struck out McKenzie Andrus, received a nice catch from rightfielder Angel Villanueva in right of a fly ball hit in foul territory by Kaleigh Dessrmeaux, and then she struck out Whitney Howerton for the third out.
In the top of the fifth, Edwards drew another two-out walk, swiped second and went to third on a wild pitch. Hagler got on by walking and swiped second but Cole got out of it by getting Bunner to ground out to third.
The Lady Pirates escaped unscathed in what could have been a big bottom half of the fifth by the Lady Bears.
Morgan Babineaux drew a walk from Johns. Hope Russell then got her second hit of the game, ripping one to left. Babineaux went all the way to third and Russell to second after a throwing error on the play.
Howerton then replaced Johns on the Vidor hill. Babineaux tried to score after a Howerton wild pitch but catcher Hagler recovered nicely and threw Babineaux out at the plate. Howerton struck out Villanueava and got out of the jam when Stegall put down a nice bunt but the Lady Pirates recovered in the field well and gunned Russell down at home.
Vidor got a runner in scoring position in the top of the first when Hagler drew a two-out walk and swiped second but Cole got Bunner to ground out to third.
The Lady Bears open the second half of 20-4A play at home Tuesday against Livingston while the Lady Pirates travel to Nederland.