Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Lovejoy softball holds off Mansfield Legacy in opener of Region II final
ROCKWALL -- With Mansfield Legacy chipping away at an early deficit Friday, senior Amanda Gray lined a two-run home run as the Lovejoy softball team regained control on its way to an 8-3 victory in the opener of a best-of-3 Class 4A Region II final. Gray’s two-out homer to right center was her eighth of the season and third of the playoffs.
“I wasn’t sure if it was a home run,” Gray said. “I didn’t know until I saw my teammates coming out of the dugout. I was just thinking about getting the run in from third.”
Lovejoy (33-8) and Legacy (31-8-1) play Game 2 at 1 p.m. Saturday at Rockwall, with Game 3 to follow if necessary.
Gray helped give Lovejoy a 3-0 lead in the top of the first with an RBI single after a pair of walks. Amanda Conner added a two-run single.
Legacy rallied within 3-2 in the fourth after senior Kolbee Gray scored both runs following a triple and double. But Lovejoy took a 5-2 lead in the top of the fifth as Gray homered to drive in Sammi Curry.
“That was huge, a game-changer for us,” Lovejoy coach Amanda Douglas said. “We needed something big.”
At catcher, Gray provided one of two key defensive plays as she threw out Legacy’s leadoff runner trying to steal in the bottom of the first. Lovejoy’s Autumn Keefer also helped douse a Legacy rally with a running catch in right field.
Lovejoy capitalized on Legacy errors to take an 8-3 lead with a three-run sixth inning. Lovejoy scored its first five runs against Legacy’s hard-throwing junior, Kendall Potts, a Baylor pledge who has made a comeback after a mid-season wrist injury.
In its second regional final in three years, Lovejoy is a victory away from its first state tournament.
“We’re staying humble and working off that,” Gray said. “We talk about staying focused on one at bat at a time and an inning at a time. That’s all we’re thinking about.”