Lady Spartans come up short in playoffs
KENNEDALE — Things didn’t go well for Centennial’s softball team Saturday morning in the deciding third game of its best-of-three series with Mansfield Legacy.
After run-ruling the Lady Broncos the night before, the Lady Spartans struggled in the finale of the team’s Class 5A Region II quarterfinal playoff series.
Legacy scored multiple runs in four innings as the Lady Broncos halted Centennial’s season with a 10-5 win at Kennedale.
Centennial finished the season with a record of 25-10 and took the District 9-5A title.
“I thought it was a very successful season,” Centennial coach Shannon Sullivan said. “The girls were upset that it ended sooner than they wanted it to, but they once again were very successful and left a legacy that will continue.”
Trailing 2-0 Centennial evened things up in the second inning on a RBI-single by Karter Hill and a run-scoring dropped third strike.
Legacy then got on a roll offensively, scoring two runs each in the third and fourth innings to take a 6-2 lead.
The Lady Spartans cut the lead to 7-5 with a three-run outburst in the sixth. Gracie Morton drove in Sydney Friend then Haley Kimberling scored on a Reagan Ellison ground out. A single by Hill scored Morton to cap the scoring.
Things soured though when the Lady Broncos responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Centennial run-rules Lady Broncos
Facing elimination Friday night, Sullivan turned to her seniors.
Seniors Friend, Kimberling and Marley Eller were penciled into the first three slots in the Lady Spartans revamped lineup.
The move paid off as the trio went 7-for-10 with a walk, seven runs scored and four RBIs in the Lady Spartans, 13-3, run-rule victory over Mansfield Legacy in a Game 2.
“I felt like we needed to ride on our seniors backs and just went from there with our typical lineup after those three,” Sullivan said. “I didn’t put much thought into it. We just needed our seniors.”
Starter and winner Crystal Peebles was masterful in the circle Friday for Centennial (25-9). The senior scattered seven hits over five innings allowing three runs (two earned). She did it all without a strikeout.
“When she is hitting her spots she is tough,” Sullivan said. “And she knows she has a good defense behind her.”
Trailing 4-1 in the fourth, Legacy (20-11) rallied for a pair runs and seemed on the verge of tying the game. With a runner on third and one out, Taylor hit a shallow fly ball to center fielder Gracie Morton who made the catch then threw out Sam Jones, who was trying to score, by 20 feet.
The double play seemed to spark the Lady Spartans who plated four runs in the bottom of the inning. Legacy helped things along with three errors.
Centennial then scored six runs in the fifth to complete the run-rule win. Morton, who went 2-for-3 with two RBI, tripled home the game-clinching run.
Legacy walks off in Game 1
With Centennial a strike away from forcing things to the ninth inning, Mansfield Legacy’s Gabby Arguijo’s solo home run over the right field fence gave the Lady Broncos a 2-1 win in Game 1.
The home run was the lone blemish on reliever Peebles line. The senior scattered four hits over 5.1 innings while striking out five, walking one and hitting one.
Peebles entered the game in the third in relief of starter Hayley Murrell with the scored tied at 1-1, one out and the bases loaded. Peebles got out of the jam with a back-to-back strikeouts looking.
“The pitch they hit out was a good pitch,” Sullivan said. “The hitter just put a good swing on it. That’s just the way it rolled.”
Legacy scored in the third after loading the bases with one out on consecutive singles and a walk. Murrell then hit Camryn Aguilar to force in the tying run. Peebles replaced Murrell and retired the next two batters.
Centennial took a 1-0 lead in first when Reagan Ellison’s two-out chopper in front of the plate turned into a run. Legacy catcher Courtney Jones fielded the ball and threw to first but no one was covering first.
The throw went all the way to fence allowing Ellison to race around the bases.
The Lady Spartans had at least one runner on base in the final six innings but couldn’t score. Only one of the runners got into scoring position and Centennial was hampered by two double plays.
Centennial catcher Mac Harshbarger had a good night defensively. In the second inning with two out and the bases loaded, the junior scrambled to a wild pitch and got it to Murrell, who was covering home plate, in time for her to tag out a runner who was trying to score. Then in the fourth, she threw out a runner trying to steal.