Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Softball playoff roundup: Plano East sweeps Carroll; Mesquite rallies to advance
SOUTHLAKE — After big hitting powered an opening win in a best-of-3 series, Plano East relied on stellar defense in a 4-0 victory over Southlake Carroll for a bi-district sweep Saturday in the Class 5A state softball playoffs.
Nationally ranked East got just enough timely hitting from junior catcher K.K. Stevens, who went 4-for-4 and drove in three runs.
Texas signee Holly Kern shut out Carroll after East needed a seven-run inning to rally for a 9-6 victory in the opener Friday night.
“Holly threw really hard in the first game and her forearm was a little sore,” East coach Karen Kalhoefer said. “We believe we have a good defense and I told Holly to let them help her. Rachel Scott made some plays at shortstop, Jacque Anthony had a double play at third and Destiny Garza had six putouts.”
East (30-3) is ranked No. 16 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association and is coming off a District 8-5A title but started the playoffs with an inexperienced roster.
“We asked who’d been in the playoffs and only five raised their hands,” Kalhoefer said. “We had some butterflies to start the playoffs. We were nervous, swung at some bad pitches we normally don’t swing at in the first game, but we settled down.
“But it’s the playoffs, and a lead isn’t a lead until it’s over and you get the final out. We know this was tough and it gets tougher and tougher with every game.”
East jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first inning at Bob Jones Park, a big recreational field with 230-foot fences. The wind blowing in nullified some of the power that would have played a factor if the game had been played at smaller Lady Dragon Field as scheduled.
East loaded the bases with three walks in the top of the first. No. 4 hitter Stevens hit a sharp grounder off the pitcher that snuck into center field to score Chandler Cink and Scott. The left-handed-hitting Stevens, who had two doubles in Game 1, stroked a solid single to right make it 3-0 in the top of the third, but East left five runners on base through the first three innings.
Carroll (13-11) hit some solid shots off Kern but ended up with only three hits, one runner advancing to third and three to second.
Plano 8, Denton Guyer 4: In Plano, facing an elimination game in its first-round Class 5A playoff series against Plano on Saturday, Denton Guyer could not have gotten off to a much better start in Game 2.
Three batters into the game, Guyer grabbed the lead on a two-run home run by junior pitcher Suzette Palmer.
But the game could not have ended much worse for Guyer. Plano capitalized on some late Guyer miscues and pulled away late for an 8-4 victory to sweep the best-of-3 series.
Plano (27-4), ranked eighth in the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s 5A state poll, advanced to play No. 4 Mansfield Legacy.
“That’s ideally how you want to start a game is to hop on somebody, whether it’s a home run or whatever it is,” Guyer coach Keith Medford said. “We stuck to our plan in that first inning. We really focused on trying to get at least one run across in the first just to let them know we didn’t spend all our energy last night.”
In Game 1 on Friday, Plano took a 2-1 win. Medford knew Saturday’s game would have to be similar for his team to have a chance against Plano, the No. 17 team in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association national rankings.
After Plano scored three runs in the bottom of the second inning, Guyer came back in the third to tie the score on an RBI single from Kylie Miyata. But in the bottom of the third, MacKenzie Velasquez scored on a two-out error to give Plano a 4-3 lead.
Guyer (20-10-1) had a chance to tie it in the top of the fifth with two runners on base and one out. But nothing came of the opportunity as Plano pitcher Kat Batey induced a weak liner to shortstop and a grounder back to the circle to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Plano got some insurance runs when No. 9 hitter Julia Knight hit a two-run home run to center field and two more runs scored on Guyer errors.
In other first-round games:
Mesquite 2-5, A&M Consolidated 1-4: Freshman Lily Garza’s two-run single capped a four-run top of the seventh as Mesquite rallied to beat A&M Consolidated, 5-4, in Game 3 of a best-of-3 series. Freshman Kennedy Curry also had a two-run single in the seventh as Mesquite advanced to the second round.
Earlier Saturday, Bailey Stokes hit a two-run home run and Victoria Bice pitched a three-hitter as Mesquite won Game 2 of the series, 2-1.
Richland 7, Midlothian 0: Haley Freyman pitched a four-hit shutout as the state’s 17th-ranked 5A team finished off a two-game sweep. Richland, the District 6-5A champion, got two hits apiece from Maddi Holcomb, Nyka Wood and Maddie McBride.
Forney 10, Round Rock Cedar Ridge 5: Forney scored eight runs in the final three innings to rally from a two-run deficit and sweep the best-of-3 series.
Laura Mabary was 3-for-4 with three runs and one RBI for Forney (25-6-2), the state’s second-ranked 4A team. Last season’s 4A state runner-up also got three hits from Micah Fitzgerald and two hits and two RBIs from Rylie Chappell.
Forney tied the score, 4-4, on an RBI triple by Taylor Penn and a sacrifice fly by Taylor LeFlore in the fifth. Mabary scored on Chappell’s single in the sixth for a 5-4 lead, and Forney added two more runs in the inning.
Frisco Wakeland 17, McKinney North 1: Pitcher Hannah Newcomb went 2-for-2 with a home run and two RBIs and also pitched a three-hitter to help District 9-4A champion Frisco Wakeland (28-6) wrap up a two-game sweep.
Brittany Gehle was 3-for-4, scored two runs and had four RBIs to pace Wakeland’s 16-hit attack. Darian Dunn and Emily Acuna each added two hits and two RBIs.
McKinney 2-6, Carrollton Creekview 1-2: Chelsea Thomas struck out eight and hit a two-run triple to lead McKinney to a 6-2 win in Game 3 of the best-of-3 series. Courtney Derrick added a two-run double as McKinney (20-15), the third-place team from District 10-4A, advanced to the second round.
Earlier Saturday, McKinney won Game 2 of the series, 2-1, as Thomas struck out six and Derrick hit an RBI triple.
Trophy Club Byron Nelson 7, Fort Worth North Side 1: Ashley Dumoulin pitched a one-hitter and Kirstin Edgar had a double, home run and two RBIs as Trophy Club Byron Nelson (25-6) swept its series.
Denton Ryan 6, Canyon 1: Behind the pitching of Carol Raabe and a home run by Ciera Frith, Denton Ryan (22-9) swept the best-of-3 series. Canyon managed only one run in two games.
Burleson 13, San Angelo Lake View 0: Samantha Montes, who has committed to Baylor, threw a one-hit shutout and struck out 10 as the state’s 17th-ranked 4A team swept its series. Heather Smith homered for Burleson, and Montes and Logan Friend were 3-for-3.