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Softball: Lady Eagles outlast Rusk – Decatur takes Game 1 of region semis

By Jay Neal | Published Saturday, May 19, 2018
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Decatur took advantage of its opportunities early and then kept Rusk at bay to post a 2-1 win in Game 1 of the 4A Region II semifinal Thursday at Rockwall.

CLOSE PLAY – Decatur’s Brison Hesteande dives back to first base during Game 1 of the 4A Region II semifinal against Rusk. Hesteande had one of the Lady Eagles’ three hits in their 2-1 victory. Photo courtesy of Jay Neal

The Lady Eagles used lead-off walks from Jordyn Smith and Brison Hesteande to jump on Rusk ace Preslye Cox in the first inning. Both Smith and Hesteande came around to score to give Decatur a quick 2-0 lead they would not relinquish.

“I think it helped us to get the early lead,” said Decatur coach Carly Cloud.

Smith advanced to second after a walk to Hesteande. Immediately after, Tristyn Trull laid down a well-placed sacrifice bunt to move Smith and Hesteande up another base.

Smith raced in to score the first run of the game when Cox uncorked a wild pitch. Hesteande later scored on a single to center by Jaci Ticknor.

Rusk scored its lone run of the night in the bottom of the fourth, cutting Decatur’s lead to 2-1.

Hesteande stroked a base hit in the sixth and starting pitcher Reagan Chism had a single in the final frame, but neither was able to score.

“Overall I thought we played well, but we have got to get our offense going,” Cloud said.

Rusk put a runner in scoring position with one out in the sixth, but Chism retired the next two hitters she faced to end the threat. She pitched a complete game, allowing a run on four hits – all singles. She did not walk a batter and struck out seven.

Rusk outhit Decatur four to three, but stranded three base runners. The Lady Eagles only left one runner aboard.

The two squared off again at 7 p.m. Friday in Game 2 with Decatur needing one win in two games to secure a trip to the region final.

“This is the position that we wanted to be in,” Cloud said.

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