SADLER — After winning a close game on Friday, the Howe Lady Bulldogs found themselves in another close battle with S&S on Saturday morning.
This time around, the Lady Bulldogs found a way to win in dramatic fashion, rallying from a four-run deficit to defeat the Lady Rams, 6-5, to complete the sweep in the Class 3A Region II bi-district series.
Howe (13-11) won Game 1, 3-1, at home on Friday and now will move on to face Alba-Golden in the area round this week.
The Lady Bulldogs found themselves in a hole early on Saturday. After S&S (15-10) starting pitcher Hailey Jaresh struck out the side in the first, the Lady Rams were able to get on the board with those four runs.
With the bases loaded, S&S got its first run with an RBI single from Riley Marshall. The Lady Rams were looking for two on the play but Howe left fielder Chloe Loftice threw out the runner at home.
S&S added three more runs thanks to an RBI double from Jada Muller and a single from Taylor Blanscett. Blanscett was thrown out at third base to end the inning but the Lady Rams got off to start they were looking for.
“We just needed to stay confident and get settled down after the first inning,” Howe head coach Tiffany Moreland said. “After the game we played on Friday, I just told our team to go out there and have fun.”
Howe was able to break through and start its rally in the third inning. The first run came off of a single by Cassidy Anderson that scored the runner from first base after an error by S&S.
Then, Torrey Stubblefield came to bat and drove the first pitch she saw over the left field wall for a two-run home run. She finished 2-for-2 and was intentionally walked twice. The Lady Bulldogs had cut the deficit to one and had new life.
“Torrey’s home run really brought a spark in the lineup,” Moreland said. “Our momentum started to pick up and brought up the confidence in the rest of the team.”
Stubblefield went back to work in the circle and started to figure out the Lady Rams. She allowed just three hits over the next four innings as her team continued to climb back in it.
“After I hit the home run, it started the game over for me,” Stubblefield said. “Not only that, I think it just hit the reset button for everyone.”
Howe was able to tie the game in the fifth inning when a ground ball by Anderson ended up as an error. The end result was Courtney Hopper scoring from second base after she had reached on a single.
“We got off to a good start but I think we relaxed a little bit,” S&S head coach Brandy Courville said. “It was two hard-fought games against a good team. We just didn’t execute the plays when we needed to.”
The Lady Bulldogs were able to break through for their first lead in the seventh inning when Payton Griffin drove in Stubblefield on a double to left field. She scored two batters later after Loftice hit into a fielder’s choice.
S&S added one run in the seventh on a single by Taylor Maxwell and did bring the winning run to the plate. However, Stubblefield was able to strike out Jaresh looking to end the game.
In the opener on Friday night, Stubblefield allowed a run on two hits and worked around eight walks with eight strikeouts and was also 2-for-3 and drove in a run.
Griffin had a solo home run, Peyton Streetman drove in a run and scored and Erin Blackburn singled and scored to pace the Lady Bulldogs, who scored in the first, fifth and sixth innings.
S&S had the tying run on base in the seventh after a pair of walks and a bunt single with one out. A sac fly got the Lady Rams on the board before Howe escaped and held on for the victory.