PALMER — Riding high from Teryn Pritchett's 15-0 district-opening no-hitter shutout of Maypearl High School, there was little reason to believe the Lady Bulldogs wouldn't roll through Corsicana Mildred in the same fashion.
The Lady Eagles' 17-2 win against Palmer High School on Thursday at Lady Bulldog Field, however, may have shown how difficult the road to the postseason will be for each 17-3A softball team.
"Going into this year, we knew we had a really tough district," said Korey Plough, the head softball coach at Palmer High School. "Every game is going to be tough. We started district 3-0 and then lost to Mildred — a really good hitting team."
Plough's Lady Bulldogs, which reached the UIL regional quarterfinal round in 2016, lost seniors Madison Bateman, Giselle Ramirez and Kendall Waddle but returned eight of the players from last season's team — including Pritchett, Haley Coffey, Dom Flores and Sierra Stone.
They also got valuable additions in junior JoJo Davidson, sophomore Kayla Rose and freshman Allie Bruton.
The Lady Bulldogs used a pair of home runs from Coffey and Stone to top Maypearl and hits from Cayden Critchfield and Payton Davidson to down Rice. Against Mildred, however, their bats fell silent against the Lady Eagle tandem of Taylor White and Ally McKendree.
Palmer scored only two runs on three hits from Chapman, Coffey and Davidson who went a combined 3-for-5 at the plate. The six other players went 0-for-11 in the 14 at-bats and only logged eight quality at-bats.
One came via Coffey's first inning double.
The Lady Bulldogs will look to rebound and stay in the hunt for a District 17-3A title when they face Rio Vista High School at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Lady Eagle Field. The winless Lady Eagles were shutout 11-0 by Grandview High School Tuesday and fell 13-12 to Blooming Grove High School in extra innings on Thursday.
"We had some errors and was missing a starter, which hurt," Plough said. "We did not play to the best of our ability. We have to refocus and get ready for next week and need to have good practices this week and come out and play like we know how. This week will be a big test for us facing Rio Vista and Grandview."
Marcus S. Marion can be reached for story idea submissions or concerns at (469) 517-1456. Follow him on Twitter at @MarcusMarionWNI.