Playoff Hopes Still Alive Heading into Doubleheader with San Jacinto
AC News Service
Pressure? What pressure?
The Angelina College Lady Roadrunners head into Saturday's showdown with San Jacinto needing several things to fall into place in order to ensure Saturday's regular-season finale isn't the season finale.
AC needs to sweep San Jac; a single loss kills the hopes. Then, the Lady 'Runners will have to wait until next week to learn their fate, with several teams having to play make-up games for rainouts suffered earlier this month.
It's a long shot, but it's do-able. With just three sophomores on the roster, head coach Chrystal Vega has spent the entire season fielding a team filled with more freshmen than any other team in the conference. That they're still competing for a post-season berth is testament to the team's talent; the batting order, top to bottom, features speedy leadoff types along with players who can take the ball deep. Molly Mackey and Jordan Garza lead the team in home runs and slugging percentage, with Garza leading the team in batting average as well. Laura Martinez and Emily Ramsey are neck-and-neck in on-base percentage, with Martinez leading the team in steals. Hannah Coker has become one of the team's best clutch hitters, notching a game-winning, walk-off double just last week. Courtney Robbins has established herself as a hitter who can find ways to get on base; and Cassidy Ivy has produced when in the lineup. Kolebi Hodges has added an extra slap hitter to the lineup, often serving as an extra "leadoff" hitter when batting in the ninth spot; and Raegan Sampson has proven more than able to help move runners around the sacks when the situation calls for it.
Then there are the three sophomores: Taylor Brookshire, Shelby Wallace and Hailey Peet have been the steadying forces as the younger players learned the game at this level. Wallace has been a solid fixture in left field; and the versatile Peet has played first and third base while getting in several innings on the mound. Brookshire, a catcher, has served as the team's quarterback on some of the intricate plays used in a softball infield.
Naturally, pitching will play a huge role in Saturday's games. Starters Shelby Phillips and Taylor Thompson have alternated innings throughout the season, and when they're both on, they're hard to beat.
All of it will have to come together on Saturday when AC takes on the San Jacinto College Lady Gators, currently ranked No. 7 in the nation and a lock for the top seed in the upcoming Region XIV tournament.