Update for September 11, 2014
Defending champs record sweep of MV
By Heath Clary
The Medina Valley Panther softball team defeated many high-profile teams in their decorated 2014 season. They beat several 5A teams in tournaments early in the season, as well as some highly-ranked opponents during their run to the 4A regional finals.
This past weekend, one final obstacle stood between them and the state tournament in Austin. Buda Hays, the third-ranked team in the state and the defending state champion, was the team the Panthers would have to beat in order to play on the University of Texas’ McCombs Field.
A couple of errors and some questionable calls resulted in a 7-5 loss in Game 1 on Thursday night at St. Mary’s University. The potent Hays lineup was too tough for the Panthers, as they tagged MV starting pitcher KyLee DeCock for ten hits and seven runs.
Arguably the biggest play of the game happened in the fifth inning, with the Panthers clinging to a 5-3 lead. After a pop-out to shortstop, two consecutive Hays batters hit singles. The next Rebel hit a grounder to shortstop. As Abi Mangold set up to field the ball, the baserunner blatantly ran over Mangold on her way to third. Instead of ruling it runner’s interference, which the Panther fans thought was the correct call, the Hays runners were allowed to stay, thus loading the bases.
The next Hays batter laid down a squeeze bunt to bring home a run, and then a wild pitch shortly thereafter scored another run and knotted the score at five.
MV could not muster any more runs in the game, and Hays scored two more runs in the last two innings to win the first game, 7-5.
Despite suffering their first loss in nearly three months, the Panthers were still confident they could overcome the 1-0 deficit in the series.
The defending state champion, however, did not want to bother with a rubber match, as Hays blanked the Panthers in Game 2 and cruised to a 4-0 victory.
DeCock pitched a solid game, scattering eight hits over six innings, but the offense could not get anything going. The Panthers recorded only four hits in the game, and their only real threat came in the fourth inning. After a flyout and a groundout, DeCock and Melinda Parish hit back-to-back two-out singles. That was the only inning in which the Panthers got a runner into scoring position, but they still couldn’t push across any runs.
Abi Mangold hit a one-out single in the seventh in an attempt to get a rally going in the last inning, but neither Brooke nor Jillian Mangold could keep it going, and just like that the Panthers’ season was over.
It was the first time all season that the Panthers’ had been shut out.
The two losses put a damper on the season, but it was still one for the record books. The Panther softball team finished the season with a 38-4 record, with 22 of those wins coming in a row.
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