BULLARD — The Van Lady Vandals got a three-hitter on the mound from Autumn McKinney to advance in the Class 3A playoffs after winning a best-of-three series over Gilmer.
Van won Game One on Thursday, 3-2, and clinched the bi-district championship with a 5-1 win on Saturday afternoon Brook Hill's Schwab Field.
The righty tossed a complete game in the win, allowing three hits and striking out six with two walks. Gilmer's hits came from Makayla Sikes, Lidia Sustaire, and Bree Rauls.
McKinney also led the Lady Vandals at the plate, going 2-for-3, with an RBI and two runs scored, and began a two run second inning with a single.
Jordain Castillo had an RBI-single, followed by an single from Caitlyn Peden that scored Castillo and a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Sikes reached on an error for Gilmer. A sacrifice bunt by Kaitlyn Crockett set up an RBI-single by Lidia Sustaire to make it 2-1.
Kylee Moore singled and scored on a fielder's choice in the third inning and a 3-1 Lady Vandals advantage.
Haleigh Moore then added insurance, blasting a 240-foot home run over right centerfield fence for a solo shot. McKinney following with a single and later scored on a Sierra Nichols RBI double for the 5-1 final.
"To win playoff games you have to hit the ball and play good defense, and we hit the ball well today, and our defense had some tough plays," said Van head coach Craig Ham. "The pitchers did a great job in both games, and they both gave us a chance to win as they always do.
"We are very fortunate to have two quality pitchers."
Class 3A Bi-District
At Schwab Field, Brook Hill School, Bullard
Gilmer wins 2-0
Van 5, Gilmer 1
Van 021 002 0 — 5 8 5
Gilmer 010 000 0 — 1 3 1
Makayla Sikes and Sassy Meadows. Autumn McKinney and Haleigh Moore. W – McKinney. L - Sikes. 3B – V: Sierra Nichols. HR – V: Moore (solo, 6th inning). SAC – V: Caitlyn Peden. G: Kaitlyn Crockcett 2, Sassy Meadows, Destiny Brooks. SB – V: Kylee Moore. G: Bree Rauls, Lidia Sustaire, Meadows.
RECORDS – Gilmer 21-14. Van 22-4-1
NEXT UP – Gilmer season over. Van vs. winner of Crandall/Pleasant Grove, site and time TBD.
Bullard finishes off Athens
GRAND SALINE — The Bullard Lady Panthers bats came alive to defeat Athens and complete a series sweep of their Class 3A area round playoff. Bullard took a four-run lead in the fourth and never looked back, defeating Athens 11-1 in game 2 at Lady Indians Field in Grand Saline.
The game was stopped in the fifth because of the 10-run rule.
Bullard (21-4) took game 1, 3-1 on Friday night, and advances to play North Lamar in the next round at a time and place still to be determined.
The Lady Panthers came out swinging with four runs in the opening inning, paced by a an RBI single from Sarah ‘Bean' Ritch. It was one of three hits Ritch had for Bullard.
A three-run third inning by Bullard was sparked by a two-run single from Sarah Wakefield to make it 7-0.
Bullard's third-sacker, Hana Woyt, had another stellar game, going 2-for-3, with three RBI's. Woyt had one RBI that ended the game via the ten-run rule, and also had an RBI-sacrifice fly in the win.
"Sarah Wakefield had a great series at the plate," said second year head coach Pamela Chestnut. "The girls did a much better job today of staying focused, and getting done what we needed to do."
Athens ends their season with a 13-12-1 record. Bullard improves to 21-4.
Class 3A Bi-District Playoff
At Lady Indians Field, Grand Saline
Bullard wins series, 2-0
Bullard 11, Athens 1
Athens 000 01 - 1 3 3
Bullard 403 22 - 11 9 3
Kristen House and Josee McNeece. Coco Springer and Sarah Ritch. W - Springer. L - House. 2B – B: Sarah Wakefield. SAC – B: Taylor Frederick 2, Nikki Johnson, Woyt, Zoe Hancock.
RECORDS – Bullard 21-4. Athens 13-12-1.
NEXT UP – Bullard wins best-of-three series. Athens season over. Bullard vs. North Lamar, site and time TBD.