McKINNEY — Timely hitting and clutch defense propelled Lucas Lovejoy to a 6-4 victory Saturday and a two-game sweep of Mansfield Legacy in a Class 4A regional semifinal softball series at McKinney High School.
After falling behind 3-0 in the top of the first, Lovejoy responded with four doubles and a single in its half of the inning to take a 4-3 lead.
In the bottom of the third, Lovejoy (34-8) scored two more runs on Amanda Conner’s single. The two runners reached base via a walk and a hit batter. Those runs turned out to be the difference.
Legacy (31-9) started hot, scoring three runs before making an out. Reagan Wright led off the game with a triple. After Sara Scott walked, Brittany Walker lifted a homer over the left-center field wall.
Lovejoy pitcher Brittany Lewis, a Stephen F. Austin signee, did not lose hope.
“I knew the team had work to do and that we’d come through,” said Lewis, a senior who averaged better than one strikeout per inning in the regular season but had none in this game.
“Our defense is amazing,” she said. “When the ball’s hit in the air or on the ground, I know it’s going to be an out.”
With Lovejoy leading 6-4 in the sixth, Legacy’s Kolbee Gray doubled with one out. Starting pitcher Ryan Wright smashed a shot up the middle. Lovejoy shortstop Sammi Curry dived to her left and snagged it. The play held the runner at second, but she could not make a play at first.
While not producing an out, the Lovejoy defense stopped a run from scoring, and Lewis got the next two outs, on a fielder’s choice force at third started by Curry and a soft foul pop-up.
Lovejoy started varsity softball in 2008, and this is its first season in Class 4A, having moved up from 3A.
“Feels like a long time coming.” said Lovejoy coach Amanda Douglas. “The players’ determination, passion, hard work and heart made this possible.”
Lovejoy advanced to the regional final in 2011 but lost to eventual state champion Celina.
We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.
Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?