DUNCANVILLE - The third time is not necessarily the charm as the Midlothian Lady Panthers (27-12) found out Saturday afternoon at Panther Park on the campus of Duncanville High School.
Midlothian had forced a third and deciding game by defeating Forney (33-8) Friday night 1-0 in eight innings.
This was the third year in a row for the Lady Panthers to play a third game in the Class 4A Region II semi-finals. Both previous trips ended with a loss to Justin Northwest and elimination from the playoffs.
Forney broke the scoreless tie open in the third inning when Ashley McCarroll led off with a single down the right field line. Erica Laflore then drove a single to center field to put two on with no outs. With Forney RBI leader Mallory Mitchell coming to the plate Coach Cassie Crabtree decided to play small ball and have the slugger lay down the sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position.
Cleanup hitter Shelby Brogden tried to bring the first run of the game home when she bunted the ball into the air into the catcher’s mitt of Brittney Caruthers for out number two.
Senior Sarah Bell stepped into the batters box and worked the count to 2-2 before fouling off a succession of pitches. Bell finally sent a shot over the left field wall to break the game open 3-0.
Forney went on to score twice in the top of the fifth inning. Back to back singles by McCarroll and Laflore combined with a rare fielding error allowed McCarroll to score and Laflore to reach third.
Midlothian pitcher Lindsay Fallen got Mitchell to pop out to second base and Brogden to fly out to right field deep enough to score Laflore from third. Bell singled but Fallen recovered to entice Brianne Elkins to pop out to short.
Midlothian scored its only run in the bottom of the fifth when Alyce Trevino laced a one out single to center field. Regan Roberts came in to run for Trevino and moved to second on a two out single by Megan Curry. Brittany Caruthers got the RBI on a single up the middle.
Forney scored to meaningless runs in the top of the seventh to take the 7-1 win.
Britney Benedict took the win for Forney hurling the complete game, allowing seven hits and striking out six.
Lindsay Fallen took the loss tossing five complete innings. Tori Benavidez finished the game on the mound for Midlothian.
Forney will play McKinney North (31-6-1) to decide the Region II representative at the state tourney.