NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — Joshua jumped on Birdville pitching early, and the visiting Owls used a seven-run second inning to fuel a 12-6 victory in the opener of a Class 4A area-round softball series.
Game 2 will be at Joshua at 7 p.m. Friday.
Emily Blair opened the game with a double for the Owls (31-7), who got a pair of first-inning runs off Hawks starter Susan Welborn before she was replaced by Kathleen Murphy.
“It was so important for us to get off to a good start,” Blair said. “It’s what kept us going throughout the game.”
Birdville (22-10) answered with a run in the bottom of the first when McKenna Moore was able to score after her hit to right was misplayed.
But six straight hits for Joshua blew the game open in the second inning.
“Their pitcher was having a hard time finding the strike zone to begin with, and my kids were being patient,” Owls coach Traci Bransom said. “We were taking the balls we needed to and we had some hits early that got some runners on, and we executed what we needed to and scored the runs.”
By the fourth inning Joshua had built a 10-2 lead.
“We weren’t hitting the ball like we’re capable of hitting the ball, and our defense wasn’t as good as it should have been,” Birdville coach John Love said. “It pretty much explains itself.”
The Hawks did score a pair of runs in both the fifth and sixth innings, including a two-RBI double by Cherlynn Townsend.
“They didn’t quit,” Love said of his team. “The girls have a lot of fight in them, but when you let a good team get ahead of you it’s tough, especially in the playoffs.”
Joshua used a pair of freshman pitchers in the game, as they have most of the season. Lefty Cayleigh Guthire started and was spelled by Ashlea McLaughlin in the third.
“That’s something we’ve done all year long,” Bransom said. “We try to give the batter a different look. They kind of complement each other.”
The Owls now return home with two opportunities to close out the series.
“This was a big confidence booster,” Blair added. “We feel confident that when we play our best we can play with anybody.”
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