Ellison’s blast helps Lady Spartans to sweep
Centennial softball coach Shannon Sullivan loves to tout her squad’s team effort and never-give-up attitude.
Both were on display Saturday afternoon in a come-from-behind 6-4 win over Waxahachie in Game 2 of the team’s best-of-three Class 5A Region II bi-district playoff series.
“When do we give up?” a smiling Sullivan said after the win.
After struggling for four innings against Lady Indians’ starting pitcher Lilly Graham, the Lady Spartans erased a 4-0 Waxahachie lead with a six-run outburst to sweep the series and advance to an area-round matchup with Dallas Molina.
Centennial’s Reagan Ellison snapped a 4-4 tie with a two-out, two-run home run to left field in the sixth inning.
“In that last at-bat I knew we had to score. It just all kind of clicked,” Ellison said. “I felt the strength of the team behind me, it was cool.”
The Lady Spartans (16-9) will face Dallas Molina in a one-game area-round playoff at 7 p.m. Thursday at Arlington’s Workman Field.
Waxahachie (16-9-1) took a 4-0 lead in the first inning on Kayle Burdine’s two-out grand slam off Centennial starter Presley Green.
Serena Bersuch, the winning pitcher in Game One, entered the game in the second inning and proceeded to blank the Lady Eagles for the next six innings. The junior allowed one hit and struck out eight using mostly her curveball.
“I was really surprised to do so well because I didn’t get much time to warm up,” Bersuch said.
After watching Centennial senior and Memphis signee Gracie Morton hit a double, a triple and drive in two runs and score three runs in a 7-4 opening game win Thursday,
Waxahachie coach Steve Howell wasn’t going to let Morton get the chance to beat his team with her bat.
Morton was intentionally walked all four times and the third walk cost the Lady Indians.
“We knew we were going to have to make the difference in the game with them walking Gracie,” Ellison said.
Howell dared the rest of the Lady Spartans lineup to beat his team and they didn’t blink when given the opportunity in the fifth inning.
After Casey Hendrixson beat out an infield hit to open the inning, the Lady Spartans turned to their short game and speed to put pressure on Waxahachie’s defense. The Lady Indians didn’t prove up to the test.
“We went to our short game and got them to make some mistakes and we took advantage of it,” Sullivan said. “If you can put pressure on defenses to force mistakes you can start taking advantage of that and make things happen.”
Kylee Gowin followed with a bunt that Lady Indians’ third baseman Sharrika Levingston couldn’t field cleanly. Levingston then fired the ball past first base allowing Hendrixson to score and Gowin to take third base.
The Lady Spartans cut the lead to 4-2 when Ellison laid down a bunt that scored Gowin. Ellison beat the throw to first and when she saw no one was covering second base turned the bunt into a double.
After Morton was intentionally walked, Mackenzie Law singled to load the bases. Karter Hill came up with the big hit of the inning. Hill’s hit to right scored Ellison and Morton to tie the game.
In the sixth inning, No. 8 hitter Carley Eller opened the inning with a walk. Eller moved to third on a pair of ground outs before scoring on Ellison’s home run.
“It’s a team thing,” Sullivan said. “If one person doesn’t have it the next person is going to step in and get it done.”
Bersuch needed nine pitches to finish out the seventh inning and give the Lady Spartans the win.
Lady Spartans take opener
Morton and Law came up with big hits Thursday night to lead Centennial to a 7-4 win over Waxahachie in Game One at Waxahachie. Ellison also had a nice night collecting three hits and scoring four runs.
Morton finished with a double, a triple, three runs scored and two RBI while Law had two hits including a double and drove in three runs.
Centennial got a solid pitching performance from Bersuch. The junior allowed four unearned runs on seven hits. She fanned five and walked two.
The Lady Spartans scored twice in the third inning to take a 3-1 lead. Ellison opened the inning with single and scored on a Morton double. Morton then scored on a Law ground out.
Centennial added a pair of runs in the fifth inning when Morton tripled in Ellison, who had singled. With two out, Hill singled to score Morton for a 5-1 lead.
The Lady Spartans added a pair of insurance runs in the seventh inning when Ellison singled then scored when Morton reached on an error. Law followed with a run-scoring double.
Waxahachie scored three unearned runs in the seventh inning. With runners at first and second, Bersuch induced a fly ball to Morton in center field to end the game.