PROSPER — There was no need for drama as Tom Bean finished off Valley View. There will be plenty of time for that in the next round.
After the Lady Tomcats held on to open the series with a victory against the Lady Eagles, Annie Bailey and Shelby Motley led the way as Tom Bean swept a Class 2A Region II semifinal series with an 8-0 victory against Valley View on Saturday afternoon.
“Playing a game that was as close as it was, you need to bring your best game and we made sure to do that,” Tom Bean head coach Lance Cherry said. “But it’s also important to enjoy the process along the way.”
Tom Bean (24-3) will face Bells in the region final this week at Denison. The co-District 13-2A champions will meet in the mother of all rubber matches for a berth in the state tournament — which will be the first for either school. All other details will be decided between the coaches Sunday.
Motley was 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs and scored three times while Bailey also homered and scattered five hits and two walks to send Tom Bean to the region final for the second time in program history and first since 2012.
“Knowing we are one round away is an awesome feeling,” Motley said.
Bailey struck out 13 and worked around a pair of two-out extra base hits, including the game-ending out when Natalie Chapman, Ellie Bailey and Jewel Mason combined to cut down Molly Stobaugh at third.
“Annie did a really good job pitching to the game plan,” Cherry said. “She was on top of her game. They’re a good hitting team. If you pitch to their strengths they can hit the ball. With six or three outs left and Annie pitching like that, it’s going to be hard to come back.”
Hannah Jacoby had a two-out triple into the left field corner in the fifth but Bailey, who struck out 14 in the 4-3 Game 1 win, induced a groundout helped preserve the shutout. Through the first six innings, every out came via the Bailey sisters — either a strikeout by Annie or a putout by Ellie at shortstop.
Valley View put a pair of runners on in the second with a leadoff single by Payton Reynolds and a walk by Avery Huff but Bailey struck out the side.
The Lady Tomcats opened the scoring with one out in the fourth as Annie Bailey launched a home run half-way up a flagpole in left center.
Baylee Stautzenberger followed with a single to left and Motley drove a two-run homer over the center field fence for a 3-0 advantage.
“From Thursday, seeing her throw us outside all night long, we expected outside or down the middle,” Motley said. “We were more relaxed. We calmed down a lot.”
Tom Bean had a chance to add to its lead but left a pair of runners in scoring position after Mason singled, Chapman reached on an error and they pulled off a double steal with one out.
Motley started the three-run outburst in the sixth with a single and Mason popped up a pitch in front of the plate that catcher Sydney Reynolds had glance off her glove and bounce into foul territory.
Taylor Whitehurst had a two-out RBI single to right and Ashlie Cass reached on an infield single off the pitcher. Mason never stopped around third and scored while the second baseman tried to get Whitehurst at third. The throw went into the dugout, scoring another run and the Lady Tomcats were up 6-0.
Motley put the icing on the win with a two-out home run to center that scored Ellie Bailey, who opened the seventh with a double to right center.
“That’s a great, great day for her,” Cherry said.
In the early going Tom Bean struggled to push a run across. Taylor Williams led off the game with a single, stole second with one out and went to third on a wild pitch with two outs but was stranded.
Mason was thrown out trying to reach second base with one out in the second on a single to center that was misplayed.