With the Region I bi-district contest between Decatur and Alvarado tied at 2, the top of the sixth inning was unconventional to say the least.
Two illegal pitches and three walks allowed Brianna Crooks to score without the ball touching the bat.
With Taylor Butler and pitcher Caitlin Butler on base, Brittany Roberts laid a perfect bunt down the first base line to load the bases.
An RBI grounder to second from Braelynn Hanes and a sacrifice fly to center by Taryn Trull gave Decatur a 5-2 advantage for the remainder of the game.
“She had illegal pitches and that scored our runs,” Decatur coach Carly Cloud explained. “She didn’t have both feet on the rubber. Her feet were split and they caught that and made the call.”
Decatur’s other two runs came in the top of the fifth inning.
Caitlin Butler hit a hard grounder to center to start things off. She was followed by Brittany Roberts who ran out a bunt down the first-base line.
That set up Kelsie Roberts, who hit a blooper over the shortstop’s head to left field, scoring Butler.
Two batters later, Trull walked before Jenny Bradford smashed a ball to left field that brought in another run to put the Lady Eagles up 2-0.
“We talked about struggling early on with our bats,” Cloud said. “They made adjustments as the game went on and fought their little hearts out.”
In the bottom of the fifth, a walk, two stolen bases and a pair of bunt singles allowed Alvarado to score two runs and tie the game up, before Decatur’s three-run sixth inning.
The late offensive burst showcased the patience of the Decatur team.
“We were trying to get used to her speed,” second-baseman Kelsie Roberts said. “It was a little different than what we’ve seen before. She wasn’t putting the ball right down the middle either. Once we started hitting, we knew we could keep it going.”
For seniors like Hanes, the win was special and allowed them to make up for losing the bi-district game last season.
“We were determined to win for each other,” she said. “It feels awesome. Last year we didn’t win. That’s a great feeling for us seniors who really wanted to have that success.”
Caitlin Butler struck out seven Alvarado batters in her seven innings in the pitcher’s circle.
Decatur moves on to the area round to face Burkburnett, the runner-up from District 5-4A.
Burkburnett finished the regular season with a 13-7 record, beating Stephenville in consecutive games to win the three-game bi-district series.
Against Stephenville, Burkburnett used a two-pitcher rotation with Madison Blair starting Game 1, and Bragg in Game 2.
Blair struck out eight while allowing six hits and two runs in her seven innings in Game 1.
Bragg pitched a seven-inning shutout in Game 2, allowing six hits while striking out four and walking two.
Burkburnett had nine hits in their first game against Stephenville and 10 in the second game.
Decatur and Burkburnett play at 7 p.m. Tursday in Henrietta.
DECATUR 5, ALVARADO 2
Decatur … 000 … 023 … 0 … 5 … 11 … 5
Alvarado … 000 … 020 … 0 … 2 … 2 … 3
WP: Caitlin Butler LP: Brianna Moreno
2B: Alvarado, Sidney Huddleston
RBI: Alvarado, Mallory Bennett, Clarissa Robles; Decatur, Kelsie Roberts, Taryn Trull, Braelynn Hanes, Jenny Bradford