HUDSON, Texas (KTRE) - The West Sabine Lady Tigers used small ball to open up a lead over Lovelady and then let their defense do the rest as they won game one of the 2A Region III Championship series 6-0.
Now the Lady Tigers are just one win from securing a spot in the State Tournament next week in Austin.
“Tomorrow is the biggest game for us this year,” West Sabine Head Coach Crystal Muncrief said."But like we have played all year we have played relaxed. I want them relaxed. Even if we have a bad game we have Saturday. The pressure is not on us tomorrow. It is on them."
Muncrief knew Lovlady would be tough. Two rounds earlier in the playoffs, West Sabine’s district rival and last year’s region III Champions fell to the Lady Lions 5-2 in a single game playoff series. Lovelady’s strength is in their pitching.
Mimi Sandoval was responsible for each of Lovelady’s first nine outs and had a total of 12 strikeouts.
“We have not played a pitcher that had a rise ball like her,” Muncrief said. “We are very aggressive. We like to swing. We don’t try to just make contact. We try to kill the ball. It is hard to lay off of that. It is something we have focused on all week.”
The Lady Tigers were able to adjust and used small ball to their advantage to pull ahead in the middle innings. West Sabine would end the night with nine hits and their aggressive hitting and baserunning forced Lovleady to commit six errors. On the defensive side, senior Hannah Spring threw 10 strikeouts and gave up just two hits.
“Overall I was very impressed,” Muncrief said. “We have worked with playing smooth and clean. If we do that we can win again.”
Game 2 of the best-of-3 series will be back in Hudson Friday night at 6 pm.