After rare loss Plano East softball makes statement in win vs. Plano

Outcome leaves rivals tied for first place with one district game left

PLANO — Even as a nationally ranked program, the Plano East softball team had something to prove.

Junior catcher K.K. Stevens made a strong statement Tuesday, contributing a grand slam and a go-ahead single in an 8-7 victory over Plano.

“It wasn’t so much about district or playoff seeding, it was about proving to ourselves we could come back after a rough loss,” Stevens said. “We had to show ourselves we could do it.”

Plano East (27-3, 11-2 in District 8-5A) suffered a 9-2 loss Friday to Flower Mound and needed a victory to tie Plano for first place in the district standings. Mission accomplished.

“We used the loss against Flower Mound [as motivation], said Plano East coach Karen Kalhoefer. “The headlines said we were ‘pummeled,’ and we were ‘spanked.’ We don’t get spanked.”

Plano East is ranked No. 15 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association national rankings. Plano is No. 17.

Plano could have clinched the District 8-5A title with a win, but Plano East now holds the tiebreaker with a series sweep over Plano heading into the final district game.

Stevens’ grand slam came on a two-out, two-strike pitch to give Plano East a 5-2 lead in the fourth.

Plano (24-4, 11-2) rallied to tie the score at 5 in the fifth as Louisiana Tech signee Kristen Miles hit a two-run double.

But with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Stevens looped a singled to right to make it 6-5 as senior Chandler Cink scored the go-ahead run.

Junior first baseman Sarah Morales added a two-out, two-run single to give East an 8-5 lead.

Plano East rallied for two more runs before Texas signee Holly Kern (25-3) got the final out on a pop to shortstop Rachel Scott.

“We knew Plano would keep coming back; that it’d go down to the last out,” Kalhoefer said. “This was like a playoff game. It was good for us to show that we wouldn’t back down when they pushed back.”

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