The No. 6 Brownwood Lady Lions, champions of District 7-4A, have spent very little time trailing this season. Behind for three innings Thursday and attempting to avoid a district sweep at the hands of fourth-seed Mineral Wells, the Lady Lions rallied with two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 2-1 triumph in their home finale.
“It’s good to have to figure out how to battle that way,” said Lady Lions head coach Jessica Lynn. “We haven’t been down very much this season, so it’s good to have something like that right before the playoffs. It very well could happen in the playoffs and we have to be able to fight back or score late in the game, which we’ve done before, but not doing it because we were behind. It’s a good confidence builder and good to see that fight.”
An unearned run allowed, and squandered offensive opportunities in earlier innings put the Lady Lions (21-2-1, 7-1) on the brink of defeat against Mineral Wells (18-12, 3-5) — which rallied from six runs down to hand Brownwood its only league loss, 7-6, on April 2.
Brownwood returned the favor in the bottom of the seventh of the rematch as Aubrie Harris began the frame with an infield single deep to the backhand side of the shortstop. A ground out by Annie Gillispie moved Harris to second, then Ashlynn Patteson followed with a single to center field. Harris was waved around third and appeared as though she would be tagged out at the plate, but a collision ensued, Mineral Wells catcher Terra Newsom dropped the ball and the game was tied at 1. With Patteson second base, Chyanne Ellett followed with a ground ball to shortstop, but a low throw got away at first base, which allowed Ellett to reach and Patteson to score the winning run from second base.
The Lady Lions mustered just five hits — two by Gillispie and one each from Patteson, Harris and Yisel Mendoza — but were aided by four Mineral Wells errors.
In the circle, Ellett gave up an unearned run on Mineral Wells’ only hit, while striking out 18 with no walks. For the season, Ellett stands at 325 strikeouts and 29 walks, and she’s up to 1,160 strikeouts for her career.
Mineral Wells scored in the fourth when reached Elizabeth Gray on an error, followed by a pair of wild pitches from Ellett, then an RBI single to left field by Mackenzie Moore.
“Chyanne looked really good tonight but she had a little hiccup for three batters,” Lynn said. “That doesn’t usually happen three batters in a row, maybe a tough batter then she’ll find it. I’m proud of how they fought through that because it’s something we’ll probably see in the playoffs.”
The Lady Lions had a chance to rebound in the bottom of the fourth as Auzzlyn Benedict walked, Ayanna Clemons reached on an error and Yisel Mendoza singled to load the bases with no outs. Benedict was stopped at third base on Mendoza’s hit into center field, and the throw home was high. Brownwood was unable to push a run across in the inning.
In the fifth, Patteson reached on an error and was stranded at third, and the same scenario followed in the sixth when Clemons reached on a miscue.
“It was a little frustrating when almost every inning we have someone in scoring position and we weren’t coming up with that big hit,” Lynn said. “That’s something we need to work on, being a little more disciplined at the plate in those situations. We got what we needed at the end, but we need to make better adjustments at the beginning.”