Lady Elks drop heart-breaker to Boswell
ARGYLE — After getting stunned 7-0 in Game 1 of its playoff series with Saginaw Boswell, Burleson’s softball coaching staff turned to different game plan for the second game of the series.
“It felt good for them to shake my hand after the game and tell that we out-coached them tonight,” Burleson coach Summer Owen said. “I thought we gave them everything we had. We were going to pull out every stop to win the game.”
Owen called on the pitching combo of sophomore Brailey Wasik and junior Hayley Vasquez to slow the Lady Pioneers offense which had hit the ball well in Game 1.
The strategy worked well until the ninth inning when Boswell scored the game-winning run on a two-out walk-off double by Harleigh Russell off Vasquez to take the series, 2-1, in the team’s best-of-three Class 5A Region I area-round series at Argyle High School.
“When I had scouted them earlier in the season they seemed to struggle against slower pitching a little bit,” Owen said. “Throwing slower is Hayley’s specialty and it’s something that no one likes. Knowing that they didn’t hit well against slow pitching I wanted to see what they could do against real slow pitching.”
Owen counted on Vasquez’s command of her pitches and her ability to make the bottom drop out of a pitch which many hitters chase and despise.
With the 20 miles per hour difference between Wasik and Vasquez, Owen decided to treat the Lady Pioneers batters to fast, then slow, then fast and then slow in hopes of keeping them off-balance.
The duo limited Boswell (31-5) to six hits over 8.2 innings. They walked five and struck out five.
Owen alternated the pair for two-inning stints, then went with Vasquez from the seventh inning on.
Wasik worked four innings allowing one run on three hits while walking three and fanning two. Vasquez tossed 4.2 innings while scattering three hits, allowing one run. The junior struck out three and walked two.
The Lady Elks (21-9) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on sophomore Audrey Schneidmiller’s single to left field which scored Vasquez, who had walked, from second base.
The lead didn’t last long as Boswell’s Julie Kennedy hit a lead-off solo line-drive home run over the left-center field fence in the bottom of the inning to tie the game.
After stranding a runner in the third and fourth innings, Burleson didn’t put another runner on base as Kennedy retired the last 15 Lady Elks she faced.
Kennedy, who tossed a four-hitter in Game 1 victory, scattered four hits over nine innings. She allowed one run while walking four and striking out seven.
“This team is awesome,” Owen said. “We lose three seniors and those are pretty big shoes to fill but I’m glad it is only three. Most of my team is coming back and we have people who can step up in those positions and I hope they can fill the shoes of those seniors. We had a slightly rocky start but man have they come through. They have great camaraderie, they love each other and they have good chemistry and I’m excited to have them back.”