Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Lovejoy sweeps softball series as 7-run sixth inning too much for Frisco Centennial
PLANO — Lovejoy showed it can score two different ways during Saturday’s 11-8 victory against Frisco Centennial.
It manufactured four runs through five innings, then exploded with a seven-run outburst in the sixth to sweep the regional semifinal series at Plano West.
Lovejoy needed every one of those runs to hold off Centennial, which battled back in the final two innings and ended the game with the tying run on deck.
“We kept hitting the ball hard but right at someone,” Lovejoy coach Amanda Douglas said. “We had to change our approach and change what kind of pitches we were swinging at.”
Lovejoy (32-8) will play Mansfield Legacy in the Class 4A Region II final. Lovejoy is making its second trip to a regional final in three years and has never been to the state tournament.
“Offensively we just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Douglas said, “and stay with our approach.”
Big innings and high run totals are nothing new for Lovejoy. It has outscored opponents 78-24 in nine playoff games.
Lovejoy sent 11 batters to the plate in the sixth inning. Danielle Brochu got the rally started with a triple to center field, and Amanda Conner drove her in with a single.
Cleanup hitter Amanda Gray finished the barrage with a flourish by belting a three-run home run over the left-center field wall.
Lovejoy pitcher Brittany Lewis came a triple away from the cycle at the plate. She hit a solo home run in the fifth that gave Lovejoy a 4-3 lead, then doubled in the sixth to set up Gray’s homer.
The big inning was all that separated Centennial (27-11) from forcing the series into a third game.
“I haven’t figured it out,” Centennial coach Mike Dyson said. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I can’t figure out why all of a sudden you get to a certain point and then that one inning everything just goes bad.”
Lewis had to battle for the win in the circle. She pitched 61/3 innings and allowed seven hits and six runs. She was relieved in the sixth by Brochu but came back in to get a strikeout to escape a bases-loaded jam.
Follow David Just on Twitter at @DavidJustDMN.