SPORTS HEADLINES

Still flying: Lady Eagles blank Brownwood, advance to region semis

By Rick Mauch for the Messenger | Published Wednesday, May 15, 2019
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Adding to the showcase

ADDING TO THE SHOWCASE – The Decatur Lady Eagles beat Brownwood 4-0 to win the 4A Region I quarterfinal title. Decatur will play Canyon in the 4A Region I semifinal Friday night in Hermleigh. Messenger photo by Rick Mauch

Decatur’s J.T. Smith said she and her teammates came into Friday’s game against Brownwood thinking pitcher Reagan Chism might need only one run for a win.

Smith made sure she got that run for Chism with an inside-the-park home run on the first at-bat of the game. It was enough for the victory, but for insurance the Lady Eagles scored three more times in the 4-0 victory in the Class 4A Region I quarterfinal at Glen Rose.

“I saw the ball bounce away from [the Brownwood left fielder], and at second base, when I saw it go to the fence, I knew I could score,” said Smith, who had her second inside-the-park homer in as many weeks.

Smith finished 3-for-4, adding a triple. Decatur (26-5) will take on Canyon in the 4A Region I semifinal at 6 p.m. Friday in Hermleigh.

“She’s a tone-setter,” said Decatur coach Carly Cloud of Smith. “She brings the energy. She’s just a consistent voice for our team.”

Brownwood (25-3-1) entered the game ranked third in Class 4A by the Texas Girls Coaches Association. But the Lady Lions, who are in the playoffs for a 15th consecutive season, were no match for Chism’s dominance in the circle.

Chism surrendered only two hits. One was an infield single, and the other was the only ball the Lady Lions hit out of the infield.

Chism also finished with nine strikeouts and walked none, posting her third shutout in four playoff games.

“I just thought about coming out and winning every pitch,” Chism said. “We really have that fire and drive in us this year after last season.”

The Lady Eagles returned all but one player from last season’s squad that reached the regional finals – their deepest playoff run since reaching the state semifinals in 2002.

Chism’s counterpart in the circle, Cheyenne Ellett, also struck out nine and walked one. She was undone, however, by a three-run third inning, highlighted by triples from Smith and Jaci Ticknor, the latter driving in a run. Tristyn Trull also drove in a run with a sacrifice bunt, and Ticknor scored on a wild pitch.

Samantha Cantu and Sela Ochoa also singled for the Lady Eagles, while Aliyah Smith beat out a bunt for a single. Brison Hesteande drew the game’s lone walk.

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