Glen Rose — After a dazzling 10 strikeout performance by Lady Gladiator pitcher Courtney Westbrook on Friday and 2 scores by Anna Viers to help Italy win 3-2 in game one, the DeLeon Lady Cats were desperate for a win on Saturday to force a third game in the best 2-out of-3 bi-district series.
Unfortunately for DeLeon, the Lady Gladiators and their coaches Jennifer Reeves, Tina Richards and Andrea Windham had the momentum on their side in Glen Rose. Despite a valiant effort by the Lady Cats, Westbrook and fellow pitcher Megan Richards were relentless on the mound to lead the way for their teammates.
In the end, Italy needed just one run. Then they needed just one pitch. And in the bottom of the 7th inning, the Lady Gladiators needed just one catch to claim the bi-district championship.
The early innings were a stalemate as both teams countered the other’s move, dueling to a 0-0 tie heading into the 4th inning. Italy’s Alyssa Richards singled in the top of the 4th but the Lady Gladiators were unable to capitalize and DeLeon grabbed their bats.
Italy’s Megan Richards struck out the first Lady Cat she faced in the bottom of the 4th. DeLeon’s next batter walks. DeLeon’s next batter pops one up between home and first but Lady Gladiator first baseman Drew Windham, who was already playing in front of the bag, dashed under the fly ball for out number two. The catch held the Lady Cat base runner on first. Megan Richards strikes out the next DeLeon batter to end the inning, the score remains 0-0.
Windham leads of the 5th inning with a single. Italy’s next batter strikes out. Cori Jeffords grounds out but advances Windham to second base. Italy’s next batter strikes out stranding Windham at second.
With Italy retaking the field, Megan Richards strikes out DeLeon’s first threat. DeLeon’s next batter chips a grounder down the first base line where Windham scoops the ball and tags the runner for out number two. With excitement beginning to mount in the bleachers, Megan Richards strikes out the next Lady Cat swinger to retire the side.
In the top of the 6th inning, Italy’s first batter strikes out. Wesbrook hits but gets thrown out at first base. Anna Viers follows up with a sharp grounder to left field and reaches first base. Viers steals second base and then third. Bailey Bumpus gets walked as does Alyssa Richards, BASES LOADED!
Windham, a senior, steps up to the plate. Viers, still on third base, harasses the DeLeon pitcher and catcher before and after every pitch hoping to force a mistake by the Lady Cats. The effort by Viers drives the DeLeon fans crazy. Windham continues to battle the DeLeon pitcher and eventually forces a wild pitch. Viers races home to beat the throw standing up. 1-0 Italy!
A wiley veteran, Windham earns a walk to reload the bases. Still in the bottom of the 6th, with 2 outs, Meredith Brummett steps up to the plate. Brummett pops one foul over the backstop and builds a full count. DeLeon’s pitcher gets the strike out to get the Lady Cats out of the inning. Italy stranded three runners but now leads the conflict by just one run.
In the bottom of the 6th, with DeLeon hoping to fire back, Jeffords catches a pop-up to second base for the first out. Megan Richards strikes out DeLeon’s next batter. Westbrook fields a grounder at third base and throws to Windham on first for out number three. Italy’s fans let out a roar!
To start the 7th inning, Jeffords hits a single to lead off. Alma Suaste flies out. Italy’s next batter strikes out. Viers also pops one up allowing DeLeon to make the catch for out number three. DeLeon’s defense holds and heads to their dugout down 1-0.
In the bottom of the 7th with a one run lead, Italy’s Megan Richards strikes out the first two Lady Cat batters. The sophomore needs just one pitch to seal the deal for the Lady Gladiators and DeLeon sends it high and deep between left and center field. Now Italy needs just one catch…
Centerfielder Bailey Bumpus hustles back and makes the running grab but collides with Brummett who was rushing over from left field. Despite the jarring blow, Bumpus held on for the final out of the game. Bumpus and Brummett hugged and then trotted in to celebrate with their team.
The dramatic catch preserved a 1-0 win and secured the bi-district championship for the Lady Gladiators and their screaming fans who rewarded the glad gals with a standing ovation. Bring on Tolar!
Lady Gladiators: bi-district champions!