Timberview, Legacy and Mansfield each took care of business in their one-game, winner-take-all bi-district softball playoff games to advance to the second round.
Timberview came into the bi-district round with a good draw as district champions, being paired with the fourth-place team of District 13-5A. Timberview overpowered Dallas Samuell in a 10-0, dominating performance in five innings.
Timberview head coach Donya Mooney said the team went in – and came out – with confidence and comfort in the level of play at this time of the year.
“We hadn’t played in almost two weeks due to a bye at the end of the season,” Mooney said. “We never had any doubts that we’d start hitting (after the layoff).”
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The second round presents a definitively tougher challenge in Hallsville.
The two teams will square off in their best-of-three series on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Forney High School and Friday at 7 p.m. at North Forney. If a third and deciding game is needed, it will be held at North Forney on Saturday at 1 p.m.
The pressure may be on winning the first – or only game – of the series should the initial weather forecasts hold true.
If the teams are unable to complete the series, the winner may be determined by the games which were able to be played.
Mariah Denson again pitched a stellar game for Timberview, striking out 12 batters in just the five innings. She gave up just one walk. Denson was also strong at the plate, hitting a double and a bases-loaded triple.
Hallsville has already established a history of being a solid program and a well-rounded team, Mooney said. “This should be a fun one to play,” she said.
If Timberview is fortunate to get past Hallsville, they would face the winner of Legacy and Lufkin.
Legacy was also able to advance in a one-game series. The Lady Broncos easily walloped Seagoville, 19-2. The mismatch was good for the young Legacy squad to shed their jitters.
“We’re young and have no seniors but just a few players with any playoff experience from their freshmen year,” said Legacy head coach Amie Prater.
“We had an error and didn’t pitch our best, but that’s OK. Offensively, we stepped up.”
Prater said the young team was fortunate to have prepared for the postseason in a tough district.
“It prepared us very well,” she said. “You won’t see the strength of pitching that Timberview has or the hitting of Ennis.”
Scouting reports on Lufkin show a roster full of seniors, good pitchers and solid offensive players.
The best-of-three series will take place on Friday and Saturday in Lindale, with the Friday game starting at 7 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday. An “if-needed” game will commence later on Saturday.
“If we approach it the way we need to approach it, with quality at-bats and good defense ,I see us moving through to the next round,” Prater said. “Leadership is starting to blossom and these girls can get after it and be ready for that next round. We’re young and excited and the girls are pumped. They know you’re supposed to show up and play hard every day, but it’s supposed to be fun, too. It’s a game.”
Mansfield also advances after their bi-district win in 6A. Mansfield got past L.D. Bell, 10-7, in a game which saw each team have a rally inning. The Lady Tigers gave up six runs in the third inning but got five of those back in the fourth.
“I’m very proud of our kids to come back and put more runs on the board and then hold out,” said Mansfield head coach Jennifer Haltom. “We’ve had miscues at other times but not had the fight before.”
Casey Waterman picked up the win for Mansfield while Bailee Baldwin was outstanding at the plate. Baldwin knocked two home runs for Mansfield and added a double for good measure.
“Bailee is definitely a leader,” Haltom said. “When she’s successful at the plate, everyone else is confident at the plate.”
They will now take on Keller, the District 5-6A champion in the next round.
Where the series will be played is up in the air, as both schools are relying on weather maps and available fields to determine the details. Haltom said she’s hoping for a UTA site or a home/home/neutral option. Haltom said they’ve even looked as far as Houston and into Oklahoma for a suitable, non-rainy location.
In the Bell game, Mansfield committed some defensive miscues due to lack of focus, Haltom said.
“If we put it all together, we’re a pretty good team,” she said.