Aubrey coach Shon Ranton said his team lacked the consistency it needed over the last 10 games of the regular season.
But for the second straight day, the Lady Chaps were as consistent as could possibly be in their Class 3A Region II softball bi-district series against Decatur.
Behind the pitching of Kaley Reding and a blistering offensive attack, Aubrey defeated Decatur 16-0 on Saturday afternoon to sweep in the best-of three series. The game was called in the fifth inning because of the run rule.
Aubrey (24-9) advances to face Ferris in the area round of the playoffs in a best-of-three series.
The Lady Chaps finished the series having outscored Decatur 36-0 in the two-game sweep.
“I think with eight seniors, they understood it’s time to turn the switch on,” Ranton said.
For a team that showed inconsistency across the field, whether it be in the pitching circle or at the plate, none of those variances in play were evident this weekend.
Reding, who is headed to Eastern Oklahoma State, allowed only three hits in nine innings during the series. Other than a double by Decatur’s Darienne Davis and a late single by Dawn Jensen, Reding was unhittable on Saturday.
The senior pitcher experienced first hand what an early playoff exit feels like after being swept by Bonham in the opening round of the playoffs last season. Reding said she doesn’t know why it took so long for her team to flip the switch.
“I actually have no idea,” Reding said. “I guess we get to playoffs, and we knew [in the] playoffs we haven’t gotten too far the past few years and we wanted to go further than what we had.”
The Lady Chaps avoided another brief playoff run by quickly dismantling Decatur (9-19) early in both contests.
On Saturday, Aubrey scored four runs in both the first and second innings to quickly pull ahead 8-0. After scoring another run in the third, the Lady Chaps took advantage of five walks and two errors in the fourth inning, sending 12 batters to the plate and plating seven runs.
Reding, Logan Even, Marissa Perkins and Emily Torres each had two hits.
Decatur head coach Carly Cloud said her team didn’t play up to its own standards against Aubrey.
“These girls, they didn’t play to their potential at all,” Cloud said. “For a majority of these girls, except for two, it was their first time to make it to playoffs. I think a lot of it was nerves and [lack of] confidence.”
Ranton said last year’s playoff loss to Bonham may have fueled his team, which entered the postseason after finishing second in District 10-3A.
“I think when they lost last year, it was a letdown for them,” Ranton said. “They didn’t play well enough to win last year, and I think that [might have] inspired them. ‘Hey playoffs are here, we’ve got to turn it on, we’ve got to get ready.’ Things like that.
“It’s got to mess with your mind somehow in a positive way, or, what are you? You’re not a competitor.”
Reding said the senior-laden team looks to advance past Ferris and make the deepest run anybody on the team has experienced.
“It’s the last time for eight of us, and I just want to go so far, and we all kind of feel the same,” Reding said.