Softball roundup: Lady Hawks rally stuns North Forney

Red Oak overcomes 3-run deficit in bottom of 7th for bi-district series lead

Don Hullett
Daily Light contributor
The Red Oak Lady Hawks celebrate after they came back to win 8-7 in the bottom of the seventh inning against North Forney on Wednesday evening at South Grand Prairie High School in Game 1 of a Class 5A Region II bi-district series.

GRAND PRAIRIE — Trailing 7-4 entering the seventh inning, the Red Oak Lady Hawks scored four runs with no outs for an 8-7 win on Wednesday night at South Grand Prairie in Game 1 of a Class 5A Region II bi-district softball playoff series.

The Hawks, the home team, dug deep into their experience and grit to claw their way back from an early 4-0 deficit before they even came to bat in the bottom of the first inning.

With sophomore Dylan Brown on the bump for the Hawks, the Lady Falcons jumped all over Red Oak and Brown's wildness at the start, when the first two batters that she faced drew walks. In an effort to get ahead in the count Brown had a pitch that caught a bit more of the plate than she would have liked, and Falcons second baseman Brianna Acosta ripped a double down the line and past a diving attempt from Hawks senior third baseman Makinen Maines into left field that led to the first 2 runs of the game.

Brown seemed to settle down a bit as she struck out the following batter. Next up was the sister of Brianna Acosta, Haylei Acosta, and she hit the first of three home runs for the night for the squad from North Forney, to make the score 4-0 going into the bottom of the first.

The game settled in as both teams could not put anything on the score sheet until the top of the third when the Falcons added a fifth run to build what appeared to be an insurmountable lead. Red Oak got that run back in the bottom of that frame as Makyla Kelly walked and then was moved to second when Jazell Orozco bunted her to second, where she scored when North Forney pitcher Mirella Manzo had an error that allowed Kelly to score Red Oak’s first run of the game. The Lady Hawks made things interesting in the bottom of the fourth inning as they plated 3 runs to draw within one run at 5 to 4. An error, double and a walk, along with a fielder’s choice, supplied the fuel for the rally.

Red Oak did not celebrate long as North Forney sluggers launched 2 more home runs, back-to- back to ease out to a comfortable 7 to 4 lead. That is where the score appeared it would stay, as Red Oak could not string anything together, but that was until the bottom of the seventh inning. The Lady Hawks came to bat and the left fielder had worked the count to 3 balls and 2 strikes, but she was awarded first base by home plate umpire on the grounds of an illegal pitch. That one call seemed to rattle the Falcons pitcher, as she was not able to locate the plate with any pitch she tried, and she walked the next batter, giving up a single that loaded the bases.

North Forney was not able to stem the Maroon Flood that was happening, even after they replaced starting pitcher Manzo with Emmy Apodaca, but she would fare no better. After another walk tied the score at 7, shortstop Brianna Evans drove the final nail into North Forney, when she she laced a shot between left fielder and center fielder to drive in the winning run and cap off the amazing comeback.

Leading hitters for the Lady Falcons were Bailey Willoughby – 2 for 3 with 1 home run; Brianna Acosta – 2 for 3 with a home run, and Haylei Acosta -- 1 for 4 with the big 2-run shot in the first inning. Pitchers for North Forney were Mirella Manzo who went 6 innings, giving up 8 hits with 6 strikeouts and 6 base on balls – and also Emmy Apodaca with 2 batters faced, as she allowed 1 walk and then the game-winning hit to Evans.

Red Oak was led by Brianna Evans – 3 for 4; Makinen Maines -- 2 for 3, and Rebecca Randerson -- 2 for 4. Lady Hawks pitcher Dylan Brown went the distance for a complete game. She allowed 8 hits, 4 walks and had 10 strikeouts.

Game 2 was scheduled for Friday night in Duncanville. If a Game 3 is necessary, it would be played at 11 a.m. Saturday back at SGP.

In other local series, the Ennis Lady Lions’ Game 1 of their Class 5A Region II series against Royse City was postponed to Friday night in Royse City. Games 2 and 3 (if needed) will be at Forester Field in Dallas beginning at noon on Saturday.

Ferris’ Class 4A Region II bi-district series vs. Van Alstyne was scheduled to begin on Friday and concludes Saturday, with all three games at Nevada Community High School.

Maypearl was set to play a single Class 3A Region II bi-district game against Sadler S&S Consolidated on Friday evening at Little Elm.

Game 1: Forney 7, Midlothian 4

DUNCANVILLE — The Lady Panthers had an early lead, but Class 5A No. 25-ranked Forney scored six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and went on to a 7-4 win on Wednesday evening at Duncanville High School in Game 1 of a Class 5A Region II bi-district series.

The hit totals were completely topsy-turvy in this game. Hannah King pitched a complete-game one-hitter, but walked 12 in the loss. The Lady Panthers, meanwhile, amassed 12 hits as a team but left nine runners on base.

MHS took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second as Marilyn Johnson and Rylan McFalls hit back-to-back RBI singles. But the Lady Jackrabbits got on the board on a bases-loaded walk, then erupted with six runs helped by four walks, an error and three wild pitches to go on top 7-2 after five.

The Lady Panthers (15-8-1) attempted a comeback in the top of the seventh as Kylie Hoggatt doubled home a run and Jessica Merk drove in another with a groundout to second, but a runner was doubled off at third base on the play and a called strikeout ended the game.

King, Merk and Meagan Hall all finished with two hits for MHS.

The Lady Panthers were scheduled to return home for a 6 p.m. game on Friday and needed two wins to advance to the area round. If Game 3 is needed, it would be played at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Duncanville.

Game 1: Celina 6, Heritage 0

The Heritage Jaguars were held in check as Celina took Game 1 of their Class 4A Region II bi-district series on Thursday night at the Midlothian High School diamond.

Zoe Isom struck out 12 in the circle, but got no offensive support as she took the loss for the Jags (13-14-1). Lacey Harrison was 2-for-3 with a double, and Kylee Murillo, Haley Warren and Hannah Moon added singles.

The visiting Lady Bobcats took a 1-0 lead after one, then pulled away with five runs in the top of the fourth.

Game 2 was scheduled for Friday night at Celina, with Game 3 (if necessary) set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Irving High School. The series winner will face either Venus or Wilmer-Hutchins.

Game 1: Italy 7, Moody 0

ITALY — Emily Janek pitched a complete-game three-hit shutout as the Class 2A No. 5-ranked Italy Lady Gladiators blanked Moody, 7-0, on Thursday evening in the bi-district round of the Class 2A Region II playoffs.

Cadence Hopgood was 2-for-3 with a double, Macey Cooper homered and drove in two, and Ella Hudson also had two RBI as the Lady Gladiators (29-1) spread the offensive wealth around.

Italy took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on Cooper’s sacrifice fly, and the score stayed that way until the fourth, when Cooper’s solo blast to center made it 2-0.

The Lady Gladiators then pulled away with three runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth.

The Lady Gladiators were set to travel to Moody to conclude the series on Friday evening, weather permitting. The series winner will face either Ivanhoe Sam Rayburn or Celeste.