While a district rival tried to spoil Hurst L.D. Bell’s run to an undefeated record in District 6-5A last Friday, memories of the 2012 playoffs were on the mind of at least one of the Blue Raiders.
Last year it was Lauren Mankel who was the final out in a series loss to Hebron that ended Bell’s surprising playoff run in the area round. On Friday, Mankel blasted a three-run homer in the eighth inning as Bell rallied to beat Colleyville Heritage 10-8 and complete a 14-0 district schedule.
Raiders coach Thomas Shives said the improvement from last year has been on display all season.
“These girls don’t get in a panic. Look at what happened here with Heritage,” Shives said. “They got three runs on us late and you’d have never known anything was different in our dugout.”
The significance of Mankel’s home run wasn’t lost on the Bell third baseman. She said exactly what she was looking forward to with a return trip to the playoffs.
“Playing Hebron again,” she said. “I want another crack at them. I told our freshmen that playoff softball is exactly what you get in a game like tonight. We’re the kind of team that stays focused on what we want.”
Hebron scouts were on hand for the game Friday and they got a dose of how quickly things can get out of hand in facing the Raiders, who are 25-5 for the season.
Mankel is hitting .528 for the season, second on the team to Taylor Brown at .613. Pitcher Laura Lewis is 22-2 with 160 strikeouts in 141 1/3 innings.
Sharing the title
Birdville defeated Saginaw 12-8 on Saturday to settle the order of District 6-4A’s top two seeds. Birdville gets top billing despite both teams finishing district with 15-1 records and splitting their season series.
Birdville (20-9) and Saginaw (21-9) enter the playoffs as perhaps the two hottest 4A teams in the area.
Cherlynn Townsend’s home run was one of five extra-base hits for Birdville on Saturday.
Richland’s Maddi Holcomb was 6 for 7 at the plate and scored two runs as the Rebels split a pair of games last week.
At shortstop, Holcomb helped turn two double plays and had six putouts. She accounted for the Rebels’ only run in a 4-1 loss to Keller on Friday. The loss was the only District 4-5A defeat this season for Richland (27-5-1, 13-1-1).
West keeps on
On Monday, the West softball team held its first practice since last week’s devastating explosion at a fertilizer plant in town. .
West had just completed its District 17-3A schedule on Tuesday, the day before the explosion, finishing the regular season 23-6 and second in district
The team plays a bi-district series against Taylor on Friday and Saturday at Temple Junior College.
• Weatherford graduate Jordan Wallace tossed eight no-hit innings to give No. 21 Louisiana-Lafayette a 1-0 win over Florida Atlantic. This season Wallace is 22-6 with a 1.79 ERA and 256 strikeouts. She’s seventh in the nation in strikeouts.
• Kansas freshman infielder Chaley Brickey has a .418 slugging percentage and has scored 25 runs for the Jayhawks (27-13). Brickey graduated early from Haltom, giving up her final year of high school eligibility to enroll at Kansas.
• At Baylor, former Aledo standout Whitney Canion is 18-6 on the season with a 1.63 ERA for the 24th-ranked Bears. Canion has 200 strikeouts in 146 innings, 10 complete games and a 1.63 ERA, this just a little more than a year after tearing her left ACL and sitting out the majority of last season.
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