PHOTO / JEFF BERGER
Molly McElroy dives in ahead of the throw in Thursday’s, 16-1 home win over Carrizo Springs.
PHOTO / JEFF BERGER
Megan Buerger makes a diving grab of a sinking fly ball in foulterritory at Monday’s Hondo-Devine game in Pearsall.
Owls sweep series from Carrizo
By Jeff Berger
Anvil Herald Publisher
Hondo swept a pair of games from Carrizo Springs last week to earn a bi-district softball championship.
On Thursday, April 29, at Martin Field, the Owls thrashed the Lady cats, 16-1, and then held on for a 6-4 win Friday, April 30, in Carrizo Springs.
This week, Hondo (15-10) will advance to the area round of the playoffs for only the second time in program history, to take on Alice in a best-of-three series. The series opener will be in Hondo, 6 p.m. on Friday, May 7, with game 2 set for Alice, Saturday morning, May 8, at 11 a.m. A third game, if necessary will be played on Monday, May 10, at a site and time to be determined later.
Alice (15-8-1), the fourth-place entry in District 31-4A, swept 32-4A champion Rio Hondo over the weekend, with scores of 8-6 and 8-5.
The winner of this weekend’s series will face either Corpus Christi Calallen or Somerset at the end of next week.
In Thursday’s series opener, Carrizo drew first blood with a leadoff double, followed by a one-out error in the first. But a lineout to second baseman Jazzy Rodriguez led to an inning-ending double play.
Hondo answered with seven runs in the bottom of the first. In fact, it was the first seven batters the Owls sent to the plate. After singles by Jodeci Bermea and Bethany Ybarra, Emily Rodriguez launched her eighth homer of the season, a line shot over the left center field fence. With a 3-0 lead, Mia Garcia and Caylin Alonzo singled and Molly McElroy reached base on an error. After another single by Katelyn Hermes, Megan Buerger drove in a run with a grounder, and Vivi Sopel singled – the seventh hit of the inning – to bring in the seventh run.
Fernandez reached on a leadoff error in the second, with Alonzo picking up the RBI.
The Owls sent nine to the plate in a four-run third. After an error and a sacrifice bunt, Bermea hit a sac-fly to deep center for Hondo’s ninth run. Consecutive doubles by Ybarra and Fernandez, followed by singles from Garcia, Alonzo and McElroy, made it 12-1. Hondo plated four more in the fourth. Normally a 15-run lead in the third or fourth inning leads to a run-rule victory, but in the playoffs, five innings must be completed.
For the day, Garcia had four singles in four at-bats, Ybarra and Alonzo were 3-for-4, and Bermea was 2-for-3.
Garcia pitched all five innings for the Owls, allowing four hits and striking out three.
Saturday’s game appeared as though it would take on the same look as Friday’s. Hondo scored four runs in the first, but the Ladycats began to slow the Owls down, as Hondo held on for a 6-4 win.
After a one-out walk to Ybarra, back-to-back doubles from Fernandez and Garcia got the scoring started. Alonzo and Buerger added singles to give Hondo a four-run lead in the first.
The Ladycats put together three hits in the bottom of the inning to put a run on the board.
Hondo added a run in the third. Alonzo doubled and came home on Sopel’s sacrifice fly to center.
Carrizo pulled within 5-4 in the bottom of the third, but never got any closer. The Owls added one run in the fifth to close out the scoring. Alonzo, who was 4-for-4, triple to start the inning, and came home on McElroy’s groundout.
Hondo’s only prior bi-district championship in softball came in 2010, when the Owls swept a first-round series from Boerne, before dropping an area series to Lyford.