Lady Panthers, Mustangs knocked out by Flower Mound teams

Posted Monday, Apr. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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One lesson that the Class 5A bi-district playoff series against Flower Mound Marcus proved was that Colleyville Heritage learned how hard it is to deal with a dominating pitching.

It was all Hannah Null last week. After missing the last five games with a strained hip flexor, she pitched a perfect game in the first game and then threw a no-hitter in the second as Marcus swept the series from the Lady Panthers (14-12).

“When she came back, I think they got a little wind,” coach Allison Conaway said. “She was overpowering. We haven’t faced any pitcher like that in our district. So to transition from what we’ve seen to what we faced is difficult. Just a tough matchup. There’s a reason why she has a 0.76 ERA.”

In last Friday’s perfect game, Null struck out 14 of the 15 batters she faced in the 13-0 win. Danielle Warne hit a grand slam. Although Marcus scored only two runs in the second game, they were more than enough.

Obviously, this isn’t the way the Lady Panthers wanted the season to end. But given that this program had not been to the postseason in five previous years, this definitely became a move in the right direction.

“What we hoped to do is create some respect for ourselves and our program,” Conaway said. “We had something to prove, and I think we did that.”

The Lady Panthers are losing four seniors from the turn-around gang, including Emily Klontz and Reagen Dumar. But there is a quality nucleus returning including the pitching of junior Fallon Dean and freshman Chloe Martinez.

The left side of the infield should be set with junior third baseman Tess Eby and junior shortstop Victoria Bratcher. Junior catcher Hailie Henson also returns.

This summer, the goal for the pitchers is to work on command and repertoire. Dean has been working with a pitching coach who has been focusing on her rise, change-up and screwball. Martinez just has to work on command of her pitches. Of course, adding velocity will help.

“It’s going to be a great summer for both of them because they can do a lot of things,” Conaway said. “If they can change speeds and hit their spots, they’re going to grow a lot.”

Bratcher’s off-season should also be interesting as she hones a new approach to the plate. She converted to a left-handed hitter and began slapping at the ball. Conaway said that was a decision Bratcher made.

Grapevine’s season ends

Well, it wasn’t what Grapevine coach Steve Bottoms wanted, but the odds of knocking off Flower Mound were long.

And after an intriguing first few innings, Grapevine (12-14) appeared to have a chance. But the Lady Jaguars flexed their muscles in the latter innings and pulled away for 12-4 Class 5A Region I bi-district single game win.

“We knew what we were up against,” Bottoms said. “But we thought we could give ourselves a chance but changing up our pitching plan.”

Bottoms started with freshman Hannah Maxey, switched to McKenzie Hill and then back to Maxey. Grapevine, though, will return a pretty solid core of players led by freshman third baseman Cynthia Haugh, sophomore shortstop Mandi Routon and freshman right fielder Sally Delgado.

The edict for Maxey is for her to continue working on her command but to improve as a fielder, Bottoms said.

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