AUSTIN – When Aledo second baseman K.K. Pittman made a diving catch to end the top of the fourth inning, it looked as though she saved a potential run from scoring in a close game.
The game was scoreless then, with pitchers Whitney Canion of Aledo and Waco Midway’s Kermitria Ward in control.
But in the bottom of the fourth, Ladycats sent 10 batters to the plate and took over this UIL Class 4A semifinal.
Aledo scored all its runs in that fourth inning, beating Midway 6-0 at Red McCombs Field and advancing to the 4A title game today.
The Ladycats (37-1-1), the nation’s No. 1 team in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association/UTA Today Top 25 poll, will face Nederland (30-9). The 4A championship is set for 5 p.m. Midway, playing in its seventh state tournament, ends the year at 28-8.
Pittman’s catch, which left Ward stranded at third base, jump-started Aledo’s rally. The Ladycats had no hits the first time through the batting order, but showed more discipline the second time and forced Ward through more pitches.
“I knew when we got the first run, we had a chance to break it open,” Aledo coach Kevin Cook said. “We took good swings, finally started swinging at good pitches, and making contact.”
Canion led off the fourth with a double to center field. A Haylee Bell infield single and Andi Shahan walk loaded the bases with one out for Hillary Brann, whose grounder was misplayed and rolled into shallow right field, scoring courtesy runner Aubri Jordan (in for Canion) and Bell. Aledo led 2-0.
Christina Kelley followed with a grounder to Alyssa Ramirez, who threw home but missing getting Shahan. Brann came around on the Pantherettes’ second error for a 4-0 lead, and Lyndi Samuelson followed with a 2-run, inside-the-park home run.
“Once we get started, we just keep going,” Canion said. “That’s what I love about our team. We got to get that one run and once we get there, our team is just so pumped up.”
Midway didn’t challenge Canion again until the seventh inning. Following two quick outs, Lauren Griffith walked and Alyssa Lewis singled, but Canion got Ramirez to ground out to send Aledo to the final.