AUSTIN — For six innings the Ector Lady Eagles nearly matched defending champion Slocum, battling to bring home the program’s first title in their first trip to the state tournament.
After already pulling off one upset in the state semifinals, Ector wasn’t able to dethrone the Lady Mustangs as Slocum earned a 3-0 victory in the Class 1A state championship game at Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin to keep its crown.
Jalyn Fletcher allowed two hits and three walks with three strikeouts, was 3-for-4 with a triple and scored twice and was named the Most Valuable Player for the Lady Mustangs (19-3).
Destiny Whitburn almost countered Fletcher with scoreless inning after scoreless inning for Ector (10-13), which saw its best season end one victory short of a title but saw the Lady Eagles get past the region semifinals for the first time, win the region title and then knock off 25-4 Borden County in the state semifinals.
Whitburn allowed just an earned run while scattering nine hits with seven strikeouts and a walk, which was intentional. She also singled in her only official at-bat with two walks.
Bailey Collins singled for the Lady Eagles’ only other hit and Hannah Easley walked.
Ector had a chance to score in the bottom of the first after a leadoff single from Whitburn but Slocum was able to turn a double play to end the inning.
Slocum went up 1-0 in the top of the third inning on Courtney January’s RBI single to left field scored Fletcher, who tripled down the right-field line with one out. January finished 2-for-3 with a walk and that run driven in.
The Lady Mustangs were able to help themselves defensively— turning two inning-ending double plays in both the fourth and sixth innings.
The first came after Montana Johnson reached on an error and the second came after Whitburn had a one-out walk.
Slocum added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning.
Laney Lasiter and Fletcher singled with one out and January was intentionally walked to load the bases. Lasiter scored on a passed ball and then Jessi Ives drove in a run with a groundout to third.
The Lady Mustangs turned one last double play in the bottom of the seventh after Collins opened the inning with a single to right field before a pop out ended the game and secured Slocum’s championship.