PEARLAND - For the second time in as many 23-6A softball meetings this season, the Alvin Lady Yellowjackets and Dawson Eagles combined to leave a staggering 18 runners on base.
What the Lady Yellowjackets did with their early chances proved to be the difference once again, though, with Alvin surviving an 6-5 wild affair with Dawson, Friday night to secure the second place district seed for the playoffs.
Alvin (20-8) will next play Dickinson in the bi-district playoff round this weekend at a site and time to be determined.
Despite experiencing control issues in the circle at times, Lady Jackets’ hurler Matti Matthews managed to overcome 10 walks to strike out 10 Lady Eagles and leave another 11 Dawson runners on base to pick up the pitching win.
The Alvin bats continued their success against Lady Eagles’ pitcher Gigi Solis, knocking out the right-hander after four innings, which featured the senior surrendering a first-inning home run off Lady Jackets’ catcher Abby Ptak’s bat.
“We knew this was going to be tough in the second round of district,” Alvin head coach Kelly Bembry said following the game. “I don’t know if we’re getting squeezed back there (by the home plate umpire), but we did give up a lot of walks. I think she (Matthews) pitched well when she wasn’t walking people.
“When she gets locked in, she’s really hard to hit. We just got to continue to hit the ball hard. When they changed pitchers, that kind of threw us off.”
Alvin wasted little time unloading on Solis with Kylie Huffman leading off the contest with an opposite field single to left field. After Huffman moved to second base on a wild pitch, Matthews promptly slapped a single up the middle to easily score Huffman for a 1-0 Lady Jackets’ lead. Matthews also advanced to second base on the throw home.
Solis retired Reagan Jones on a grounder back to the circle, but Ptak then crushed the first offering she saw over the center field fence for a two-run blast and a 3-0 Alvin advantage.
“I was just trying to stay on top of something, get a base hit or get something through,” Ptak said. “I was kind of looking right side, because I wanting to hit behind the runner.
“The pitch was just right up the middle so I just went after it. I guess she (Solis) just pitches the way we like. We can adjust to her well. She’s got a little bit of an upspin. She’s a good pitcher, but we have been able to get on top of her. She does a great job.
I’m real optimistic about how we’re going to do in the playoffs. Really looking forward to it.”
Bri Wetmore then got Alvin started in the second inning by drawing a lead-off walk and moving to second base on a passed ball. Solis got Mary Barber on a foul pop to the catcher and Huffman on a fly ball to left, but Matthews once again took the Dawson hurler up the middle to plate Wetmore to make it 4-0.
While Matthews escaped jams in both the first and second frames with inning ending strikeouts, the Eagles finally took advantage of a scoring chance in the third.
Caroline Roth blooped a lead-off single to right field and Sa`Mya Jones walked to put a pair of runners on for Carissa Anaya, who belted a three-homer to center field to bring Dawson within 4-3.
However, the Lady Jackets got two of those tallies back in the fourth, as hits by Alana Ramos and Barber and a walk to Huffman loaded the bases with one out. The Eagles appeared to have a force play on Matthews’ grounder to first base, but Elana Luna’s throw home was dropped by catcher Stephanie McClain, allowing Ramos to cross with Alvin’s fifth run.
Jones then lofted a sacrifice fly to center, bringing in Barber for a 6-3 Alvin edge.
Anaya’s two-run double in the sixth pulled Dawson within a run again at 6-5, while the Eagles dodged a Lady Jackets’ scoring threat in the seventh, thanks to a little controversy taking an Alvin run off the board.
Kamryn Deleon was called out for allegedly obstructing Roth at third base on Wetmore’s single to left field, although Roth appeared to be the one impeding Deleon’s path to the bag on the play. Deleon went on to cross home plate as well.
The Lady Jackets soon made the questionable call meaningless, though, with Matthews fanning both Cara Pittman and Luna in the bottom of the seventh and coaxing a game-ending fly ball by Evey Dieudonne to Huffman in center.
Alvin will entering the playoffs for the 13th straight time, tying their own school record for consecutive appearances, which was originally set from 1996-2008 and also for the 26th time in the last 27 years, not counting the covid shorten season of 2020.
The Shadow Creek Lady Sharks will also be competing in the Class 6A playoffs this week as the fourth seed from 23-6A.
The Lady Sharks will face 24-6A Champion Brazoswood in the opening round.
The Manvel Lady Mavericks closed their season with a 2-0 defeat at Santa Fe on Friday. Manvel closes their season at 10-13-1 overall.
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