Courtesy Palmer ISD
Palmer Lady Bulldogs softball team bounced the second ranked Class 2A team in Texas The Quitman Lady Bulldogs out of the playoffs on Monday at Wills Point by a score of 4-3.
It was a dog fight most of the night with both teams exchanging big hits with runners in scoring position.
The Lady Dogs of Quitman showed they were there to defend their No. 2 ranking by scoring two in the first inning. Their leadoff hitter had a low line drive base hit to right center for a single.
Two batters later, Palmer found themselves in a 2-0 hole when Sam Huddleston stepped to the plate and hit a triple into the right center gap and scored with a controversial play at the plate.
In the bottom of the same inning, Palmer’s pitcher and leadoff batter, Courtney Harris, helped the team by lining a base hit to left field to eventually be driven in by Samantha McDonald with a standup double.
Next to the plate was Arielle Kemp who hit a chopper to third base that allowed McDonald to slide in safely at home, Kemp reached first base safely on a fielder’s choice. No runs were hung on the board in the second inning by either team.
Quitman scored one run in the top of the third before Palmer stepped up to bat.
In the bottom of the third inning, Palmer showed that state rank did not mean much to it in a one-game playoff.
Palmer capitalized when Brooke Ray had a long plate appearance working the count to full and fouling off ball after ball until she finally saw a fourth ball for a free pass to first.
McDonald stepped up to the plate and moved Ray over with a bunt down the first base side, she avoided the tag and was safe.
Kemp was up next with runners at first and second and no outs. She laid down a good bunt to move the runners over into scoring position.
The sac-bunt brought up Taylor Prestidge who drove in Brooke Ray from third with an RBI single through the left side of the infield.
Emily Silberstein was at the plate with the go-ahead run 60-feet away. Silberstein hit the eventual game-winning RBI fly ball to left field in which McDonald scored from third.
For the next three innings of the game both teams were riding the success of their pitchers, and it came down to the top of the seventh for the Quitman Bulldogs to try and get it done.
Quitman had the top of the lineup coming up and hoped it would be enough to tie the game or go ahead.
Palmer’s defense had different plans for the No. 2 ranked team in Texas AA.
Courtney Harris got the first two batters out by forcing popups, one to Delaney Wolfe at third and the other to center fielder Brook Ray.
It came down to the hot bat of Quitman’s Sam Huddleston who grounded out to second baseman Krystal Wooldridge for the put out at first and the ball game was over.
The Palmer Lady Bulldogs are the 15-AA regional quarter final champions.
“The girls came prepared for the No. 2 team in the state and made up their minds that they were not going to go home emptyhanded. When this team sets their mind to something they usually get the job done,” Pete Hampel Palmer head softball coach said.
Palmer will play Brock in the regional semifinals with game one tonight at 7 p.m. in Mansfield at Legacy High School.
Game two will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the same location, with game three following if necessary.