Boyd’s softball season ended in the first round of the playoffs over the weekend – but the young Lady Jackets (19-13) did not go down without a battle.
After splitting the first two games with Maypearl, the rubber match Saturday afternoon at Mansfield Lake Ridge High School started with a couple of first-inning Boyd errors and Maypearl had a 1-0 lead.
Boyd got the run back in the bottom of the first when Britney Howard slashed a one-out liner to the center field wall. She took third on a ground out, then scored when pitcher Chelsea Arlington blooped a hit over second.
One batter into the top of the second, Boyd had its third error of the game when Howard missed a grounder at shortstop. The next batter grounded out, but a soft single to right put runners at first and third with one out.
But Arlington got a called third strike and coaxed a popup to Howard, who made a nice running catch behind third to end the inning.
Maypearl put four on the board in the third after a leadoff triple and three singles. Boyd got the first out on a rundown, but a run scored on the play. Another triple and a blistering line drive off Howard’s glove scored another run before Arlington induced a couple of ground ball outs to end the inning.
A missed opportunity in the bottom of the third would come back to haunt the Lady Jackets. With two outs, they scored a run and loaded the bases before Gabby Saldivar looked at what appeared to be a generously-called third strike.
Saldivar came back, however, and capped a three-run rally in the bottom of the fifth as she drove a deep fly ball to right-center to score the tying run.
She had to leave the game in the next inning after suffering a twisted knee on a close sliding play at third.
In the top of the seventh, with the score tied at 5-5, Maypearl loaded the bases with one out. A bloop hit over the drawn-in infield scored a run. Then a seeing-eye ground ball up the middle scored another before Boyd ended the rally with a 1-2-3 double play, Arlington to Savannah Foster to Chandler Hammon.
But in the bottom of the seventh, an interference call cost the Lady Jackets an out on a ground ball to short with runners at second and third. After the runner going from second skipped to avoid the grounder, the base umpire called her out, and called the runner back from third.
Boyd still scored on a two-out hit, but a strikeout ended the game with the tying run at third and the winning run at second.
“That’s a call that can go either way,” coach Brandon Hopkins said. “She was running full-speed, and she just skipped over the ball.”
But Hopkins consoled his team with the promise that this will not likely be their last playoff appearance.
“Of my 10 starters, seven are freshmen or sophomores,” he said. “We’ve got some good things ahead of us.”
FRIDAY NIGHT WIN
Boyd (19-13) won their opener, 5-2, on Friday in Azle, after the testing schedule changed the original playoff plan.
Kassidy Lester drove in two runs on a homer and a double, and Howard also knocked two hits. Amber Bowen, Saldivar, Kallie Tyner and Arlington also got hits, and Bowen drove in two runs.
Arlington pitched the entire game, scattering five hits while walking only two and striking out six. Maypearl’s two runs came in the bottom of the seventh.
The Lady Jackets played error-free ball in the Friday win, but errors would haunt them Saturday.
In the first game Saturday, Maypearl struck for 7 runs in the third inning enroute to a 10-run-rule, five-inning win.
Several Lady Jackets hit the ball hard, but stellar fielding robbed them of hits on several occasions.
Howard, Kaytlin Bullard, Tyner and Hamman had hits for Boyd, but the Lady Jackets were never able to put together an offensive rally.