For five innings, the Sherman Lady Cats held strong against the top team from District 5-5A in Denton Ryan.
But a four-run sixth inning propelled by two errors ended up doing them in as they fell, 6-0, to the Lady Raiders on a chilly Tuesday night at Old Settlers Park.
“I just told them that they have to have each other’s back,” Sherman head coach Brenda Samuels said. “They have to work as a team and they were playing as individuals with one mistake led to another.”
The Lady Bearcats (6-10, 2-2) started the sixth inning trailing 2-0 as Jessica Bridges retired the second batter of the inning on a sacrifice bunt. Abby Buettner of Denton Ryan (18-3, 2-0) then took advantage of a pitch over the middle, carrying the ball over the center field wall for a two-run home run.
It was the second home run of the game for Buettner.
Three batters later and runners on the corners, a double steal executed by Denton Ryan forced an errant throw from shortstop Jill Dixon that scored another run. On the next pitch, catcher Jill Whitmire misfired to third base as Savanna Phillips came in to score for the Raiders.
Bridges struck out the next two batters to stop the momentum. The junior struck out six to add to her 45 total strikeouts during District 5-5A play.
“I think Jessica pitched well tonight and done so four district games in a row,” Samuels said. “She missed a spot here and there but we can’t win if we don’t score so we can’t put it all on her shoulders.”
At the plate, the Lady Cats couldn’t find a rhythm at the plate, pulling out just five hits and not advancing a runner past second base. They were shutout for the second straight game.
“We need to be more aggressive at the plate,” Samuels said. “They have to want it more and I think we’ll be more successful if we do that.”
Bridges recorded the only extra base hit for Sherman, a two-out double in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Kaitlyn Caver had two hits on the night while Kenna Ferguson and Whitmire each recorded a hit as well.
It wasn’t enough to get past district leader Denton Ryan, who got on the board in the first inning with a Buettner solo home run to center field.
The second run of the game came in the third inning, when a ground ball from Harper Hughes got past Ariel Garcia that led to Cecily Rodriguez coming in to score a run.
The score remained 2-0 until the sixth inning.
The Lady Cats now have an extended break as they hit their district bye week and won’t be on the field until March 23 at Wichita Falls. With the long break, Samuels sees Tuesday’s result as a chance to regroup.
“I think they were physically ready to play,” Samuels said. “After that first home run, I think they mentally lost it a little bit and it took them a while to pick it back up. They have to pick each other up and they were a different team today. This is a resilient team and hopefully they’ll bounce right back.”