LINDALE — A stellar pitching performace from Gladewater’s Katie Hickey and timely hits from Keambria Hunter propelled the Lady Bear past Lindale 2-1 Friday night at Lindale Softball Field.
Hickey held the Lady Eagles to one run on four hits to earn the win. Hunter doubled and drove in both runs for Gladewater in Game 1 of a best-of-three series in the area round of the Class 3A softball playoffs.
“I was really excited coming into this game,” Hickey said. “I was hoping to go out there and do my best, but I couldn’t have done it without the great defense behind me.”
The Lady Bears jumped on the board quickly, posting a run in the first inning on a two-out hit by Hunter. Her single up the middle scored Katy Stephens from third base.
Hickey and Lindale starting pitcher Kayla Cosby settled in and combined to allow only one hit over the next three innings, until Lindale pushed across a run in the fourth.
Mariah Millington led off the fourth with a single up the middle and moved to second on a fly out to left field. She stayed there until Brittany Pettigrew’s double down the left field line brought her home to tie the game at 1. Pettigrew, however, was called out at third attempting to stretch her double into a triple.
Gladewater took the lead in the sixth on Hunter’s double to left. Rachael Hitt, who singled with one out, scored on the play to put the Lady Bears ahead.
Lindale left a runner on base in the bottom of the inning, but went down in order in the seventh.
“I just think the girls are motivated because we’re in uncharted water,” Gladewater head coach Kelly Stuckey said. “We’ve never been here. … They’re just excited and playing on adrenaline.”
The loss for the seventh-ranked Lady Eagles is just their fourth of the season and they must win two games today in Gladewater to move on.
“Tonight we just didn’t get it done,” Lindale coach Ken White said. “We didn’t get some key hits at times, but had good pitching.
“We still have two ballgames tomorrow and we’re not out of it. That’s why we’re playing two out of three.”
Game 2 of the series is set for 4 p.m. today in Gladewater. Lindale must win to force a third and decisive game, which will take place after Game 2.
The winner of the series moves on to face the winner of the Henderson-Crandall series in the Region II quarterfinals.
Class 3A Area Playoff
Gladewater 2, No. 7 Lindale 1
Gladewater 100 001 0 — 2 5 1
Lindale 000 100 0 — 1 4 0
Katie Hickey and Melanie Stephens. Kayla Cosby and Kathryn Wright. W – Hickey. L – Cosby. LOB – Gladewater 5, Lindale 3. E – Katy Stephens. 2B – Keambria Hunter; Jennifer Miller. SHB – Alyssa Jalomo.
RECORDS — Gladewater 23-7; Lindale 21-4-1.
NEXT UP — Game 2: Lindale at Gladewater, 4 p.m. Saturday.