SPORTS HEADLINES

Softball: Chico wins bi-district title

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, April 29, 2017
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Winning Smiles

WINNING SMILES – Chico players storm the field after the game-clinching run scored in the bottom of the fifth. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Any nerves for the Chico Lady Dragons in their first playoff appearance since 2012, Laynee North helped alleviate in the first inning Thursday.

North tripled home a pair of runs to jumpstart the Lady Dragons. Chico went on to score in every inning, including six in the fifth inning to beat Perrin-Whitt 11-1 in the Class 2A Region II bi-district game at Jacksboro.

“I just got good contact on the ball,” North said about the triple. “I was just trying to get a hit.

North finished 2-for-3, reaching base four times and driving in four runs.

North scored the game’s final run on an error on a ball hit by Michaela Martin, who had started the bottom of the fifth inning with a lead-off triple.

The victory was Chico’s first playoff win since beating Cross Plains in 2012 in the bi-district round.

“We had to mold some people to get it done,” said Chico senior pitcher Brooke Vidal. “The last time we did it my sister was a freshman.”

Chico will move on to play Moody in the area round. Moody beat San Saba 15-0 Thursday. No date or site has been set for the game.

Perrin turned three Chico errors in the top of the first into a quick 1-0 lead.

With North’s hit giving the Lady Dragons a lead in the bottom of the inning, they quickly settled down.

Vidal shut Perrin out the rest of the way, allowing a pair of hits, striking out three and walking three. Behind her, the Lady Dragons threw out a pair of runners on the basepaths. Macy Lingle threw out a runner at third to end the top of the third.

“We made some awesome plays defensively throwing runners out,” said Chico coach Tommy Tomlinson.

Chico kept putting the ball in play and forcing Perrin to make plays. Perrin made four errors, leading to seven unearned runs.

“We hoped to put a mark on the board every inning,” Tomlinson said. “We thought the short game would be the way to play these people.”

Leading 5-1 after the fourth inning, Chico missed on opportunities to break the game open, stranding three in the third and two in the fourth. Chico made up for it in the fifth with Martin tripling to center field to start the frame. Nine of the next 10 batters reached base.

Kiley Marburger and Vidal took bases-loaded walks to force home runs before Martin ended the game.

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