The Lady Blues entered the game on Thursday night in Mineral Wells against the Lady Rams fresh from the momentum of winning a close, hard fought game against Vernon on Monday night.
All year long head coach Philip Irby has preached about avoiding the “big inning” and playing smart ball, but in the end, the “big inning” reared its ugly head in the bottom of the 6th inning and ultimately lead to the Lady Blues falling 10-7.
The game began with the bats moving for the Lady Blues after a double from Chyanne Lozowski and a single from Lanna Plaster, but they were unable to capitalize on those hits and headed to the bottom of the first with no runs. After a short visit to the circle from Irby in the bottom of the first to settle down his star pitcher Lexie Allen, the Lady Blues escaped the first inning down only one run.
The top of the second inning provided a great team performance, as well as a candidate for player of the game from the lead-off hitter Jaimey Hearne, who typically beats out bunts with her speed. After singles from Plaster and Laura Barrett, Hearne ripped a two run double to score the Lady Blues first two runs of the game.
In the bottom of the second, Allen recorded three straight strikeouts and shut down the inning with the Lady Blues on top 2 to 1. After some back and forth play in the third and fourth innings, the Lady Blues trailed 2-3 in the top of the fourth inning when Hearne stepped to the plate again to deliver a single to left field, scoring a runner. She would then go on to steal second base.
After accounting for all the Lady Blues runs in the game, Hearne wasn't done providing a spark in the bottom of the fourth and providing the “Glad You Made the Bus” play of the game. After Ashley Valdez and Addison Singleton were struck out and thrown out at first, respectively, the Lady Rams sent Anaiz Mendoza to the plate to attempt to get a late inning rally started. Hearne, playing short stop, stood ready and delivered one of the greatest catches of the season by leaping to her left and stealing a hard hit line drive single from the air to close out the inning tied 3-3. Running back to the dugout and to an excited group of Lady Blues, Hearne had a smile on her face and a look that seemed to say: “What did you expect?”
Read the entire story in Saturday's Graham Leader.