• Centennial sophomore Sydney Friend slides safely into second base during Game 2 of the Lady Spartans Class 5A Region I semifinals series in Wichita Falls.  The Lady Spartans lost the series in two games.  BURLESON STAR/CHRIS JASO

Lady Spartans season halted in regional semifinals

Centennial finishes year with school-record best mark of 29-5

WICHITA FALLS ­­— In a battle of state-ranked team’s Canyon came out on top over Centennial, 5-3, Saturday in Game 2 of the squad’s Class 5A Region I semifinal series at Wichita Falls Optimist Girls Softball Complex.

The loss ended the Lady Spartans’ (29-5) best season in the program’s six-year history. Centennial has made two regional quarterfinal appearances under the direction of coach Shannon Sullivan, who started the program.

“We did a good job of fighting,” Sullivan said. “After the game, I reminded them of what they had done. They set the bar higher this season.”

The Lady Eagles (26-5), who won the opener Friday night, 9-8, nabbed a 2-0 advantage in the third inning after loading the bases in the first two innings without scoring. Canyon will face Birdville in the regional finals for a berth in the state tournament.

Alyx Cordell put Canyon up 1-0 with a run-scoring triple and Sloane Precure added an RBI single to put the Lady Eagles up 2-0.

In the fourth, the Eagles added three runs after loading the bases on a walk, a single and a hit batter. Cambry Hedger gave Canyon a 5-0 lead with a bases clearing triple.

“They had timely hits with runners on base,” Sullivan said.

Just as they had Friday night, the Lady Spartans rallied in the fourth. This time Centennial put together a two-run outburst. The Lady Spartans loaded the bases on a Sydney Friend single, a Haley Kimberling walk and when Gracie Morton reached on a fielder’s choice. Friend cut the lead to 5-1 by scoring on a wild pitch and Eva Scott sliced the Canyon’s lead to 5-2 with run-scoring sacrifice fly to right field that brought home Kimberling.

In the fifth, Centennial chopped the Lady Eagles’ advantage to 5-3 and threatened to get even closer. After Friend singled with one out, she scored on Morton’s triple. But the Lady Spartans stranded Morton at third.

“Gracie was Gracie today,” Sullivan said. “That’s something we missed yesterday.”

With one out in the seventh, Karter Hill singled only to have the rally stall when Canyon reliever Kyra Lair induced a pop out and a ground out the end the Centennial’s season.

Crsytal Peebles entered the game in relief and kept Lady Spartans within striking distance of Canyon thanks to her pitching.

“Peebles did a great job of taking care of business,” Sullivan said.

The game was the final one for seniors Scott, Bailey White, Kallyn Ciesynski, Sam Pettijohn and Bailey Gunter.

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Image: 
Centennial sophomore Sydney Friend slides safely into second base during Game 2 of the Lady Spartans Class 5A Region I semifinals series in Wichita Falls.  The Lady Spartans lost the series in two games.  BURLESON STAR/CHRIS JASO