The Angelina College Lady Roadrunners are still alive and kicking in the Region XIV tournament, thanks to some clutch pitching, outstanding defense and a little daring from the coach's box.
Pitchers Stacie Tassin and Kelseigh Braaton teamed up for a four-hit shutout, with no small thanks to huge defensive plays around the AC lineup, and the Lady Roadrunners made sure their three runs in the first three innings held up in AC's 3-0 win over Alvin in Saturday's Region XIV tournament action in Lufkin.
Tassin, who went the distance in Friday's loss, came back with just a few hours' rest to shut down the Lady Dolphins for four innings. Braaton came on in relief and briefly flirted with danger, loading the bases with just one out before striking out Mercedes Adams and retiring Athena Garza on a ground ball.
Ironically, before taking the mound, Braaton was in the middle of one of many big defensive sequences for the Lady ‘Runners. In the bottom of the third, Alvin moved a runner into scoring position after leadoff double from Lady Dolphin Porsha Ramos. Kim Garcia ripped a ground ball to the left side fielded by AC's Jenna Richardson, who made the throw to Braaton – playing first at the time – to nab Garcia. Braaton then threw a perfect strike across the diamond to nail Garcia trying to take third.
AC shortstop Amanda Vincent also grabbed her share of highlight-reel material, diving for a liner in the sixth and leaping high to rob a base hit in the seventh. Second baseman Sam McCord also recorded a pair of key putouts to help keep the Lady Dolphins scoreless.
On the offensive side, the Lady Roadrunners got off to a quick start. Amy Holt led off the game with a four-pitch walk and moved to second when Lauren Davis' sacrifice bunt attempt was misplayed for a Lady Dolphin error. With two outs, Brittani Stone smacked a liner into right field to score Holt and Davis and give AC an early 2-0 lead.
In the third, Holt was again the catalyst, ripping a line drive into left that eluded Alvin's left fielder for a single and a three-base error. One out later, Lady ‘Runner head coach Chrystal Vega gambled and won, with McCord executing a perfect bunt on a suicide squeeze to allow Holt to score without a slide.
The Lady Roadrunners will play Paris in a rematch of Thursday's game – won 3-2 by Paris – at 10 a.m. Saturday morning in yet another elimination game. A win for AC makes Saturday a doubleheader, with the next game scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
In Friday's other action, San Jacinto eliminated Lon Morris with a 6-1 win; Navarro dropped Galveston into the loser's bracket with a 3-2 win in 10 innings; and Blinn beat Paris by a 5-1 score to remain in the winner's bracket.
Saturday's schedule includes AC vs. Paris at 10 a.m.; Galveston vs. San Jacinto at 12:30 p.m.; Blinn vs. Navarro at 3 p.m.; and the winner of the AC/Paris game vs. the winner of Galveston/San Jacinto at 5:30 p.m.