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VIDEO: Lady Bears “gut out” a huge series win over Lady Hawks; move on to area round

RIDGE CITY – Showing a ton of grit and determination, the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Lady Bears will be heading to the area round of the playoffs as they bounced back from a tough Game One loss Wednesday to notch a 12-4 Game Two win and a 2-1 Game Three victory to knock out the Hardin-Jefferson Lady Hawks in the Class 4A Region III bidistrict playoffs Friday night at Lady Cardinal Field.

In Game Three, the Lady Bears (24-8-1) received a huge effort on the mound from junior Cami Shugart and senior shortstop Madeline Stephenson sent the Lady Hawks home with a one-out, line drive RBI single past third in the bottom of the seventh inning to score courtesy runner Ashlynn Wilson with the game and series-winning run.

The Lady Bears will move on to face Bellville in the area round next week. Bellville (11-15), the fourth-place team out of 24-4A, belted 23-4A champion Houston Furr 20-0 in a one-gamer.

The Lady Bears, who lost to the Lady Hawks (26-14-1) 14-4 in a rough outing in Game One Wednesday, were down 3-1 going into the sixth in Game Two but erupted for seven runs in the top of the sixth to pull away.

Shugart was huge in Game Three. She worked all seven innings, allowing seven hits while striking out one and walking one and was backed up by tremendous defensive play, something the Lady Bears improved on dramatically from Game One. Shugart also gave LC-M its first run with a sacrifice fly in the second inning.

Shugart was motoring along with a shutout until the top of the seventh before the Lady Hawks (26-14-1) rallied to tie it.

H-j’s Molly Beavers, who had three doubles in the game, led off with a double down the third base line and went to third on a passed ball. With one out, Cheyanne Lee was hit by a pitch to get on. Karsyn Laurents then tied it with a RBI single to right.

Shugart got out of it by getting Grace McIntosh to hit into a double play as Stephenson made a superb play at short to help turn it.

Lee, who pitched 18 innings in the series for the Lady Hawks, showed some wear late in the game, especially after being hit by the pitch in the top of the seventh and the Lady Bears jumped on the opportunity in the bottom of the seventh.

Shugart got it going with a leadoff walk. Ansley Moore then ripped a Lee offering almost all the way to the wall, Shugart tried to score on the play but got gunned down at home as Moore got to second.

Lee then loaded the bases with back-to-back walks to Rhylan Wilson and Karson Friar. That set up Stephenson for the game-winning line drive shot as the Lady Bears rushed on the field in celebration.

Lee tossed 18 innings in the three-game series. In Game Three she allowed just four hits while striking out two and walking five.

The Lady Bears went up 1-0 in the bottom of the second when freshman Jacelyn Cook, who has had the hot hand at the plate of late, stroked a one-out triple to right and scored off a Shugart sacrifice fly to right.

Senior ace Karson Friar got the win on the hill for the Lady Bears in Game Two as she went the distance, allowing five hits while striking out 13 and walking seven.

Lee tossed the first five innings for H-J but did not last through the LC-M explosion in the sixth after leading 3-1.

It has usually meant trouble when opponents intentionally walk LC-M senior slugger Bailey Frenzel, who was 3-for-3 with three RBI, and they did just that to start the top of the sixth. Lee walked Ava Wright and Cook roped a RBI double to right.

Shugart tied it with a RBI single to left and Lee was replaced on the H-J mound by Beavers.

The Lady Bears went on to score five runs with two outs.

Friar lifted a deep shot to left that was dropped for an error as two runs came across for a 5-3 lead. Stephenson lined a triple to right to drive in another.

Shae Fontenot sent a RBI double to left and Frenzel capped it with a RBI single to left to make it 8-3.

H-J’s Grace McIntosh had a RBI groundout to trim it to 8-4 in the bottom of the sixth.

The Lady Bears snared four more runs off H-J pitcher Kimber Hougesen in the top of the seventh.

Cook and Shugart drew leadoff walks and Moore loaded the bases with a single up the middle.

Rhylan Wilson had a RBI single to right. Friar drew a bases loaded walk to score another and with two outs, Frenzel capped it, blasting a two-run single.

LC-M went up 1-0 in the first when Fontenot scored on an infield single by Cook after she had walked.

H-J scored three runs in the bottom of the first.

Friar walked Karleigh Hensley, Karyton Dawson, and Kayley Prudhomme. Friar struck out Hannah Jones but an errant pickoff throw at third by Lady Bear catcher Fontenot allowed two Lady Hawks to score. Beavers scored Prudhomme with a single to left.