Bells pulls out win over Pottsboro in 11-3A action

Jason Della Rosa
Herald Democrat
Bells' Alexis Tanguma threw a two-hitter during the Lady Panthers' win over Pottsboro in 11-3A play.

POTTSBORO — Following a pair of blowouts to start district play, the Bells Lady Panthers found the second week of 11-3A contests a lot more challenging.

It culminated with a tie game headed into the final inning before Bells came away with a 5-2 victory over the Pottsboro Lady Cardinals.

The Lady Panthers remained tied with Bonham in first place and pushed their district winning streak to 25 games, dating back to the middle of the 2018 season.

“We’re always going to have a target on our backs. We need to play like that,” Bells head coach Kristina Stephens said. “I think it’s anyone’s ball game in our district. It’s good to put us in that position where we have to fight. We needed that.”

Alexis Tanguma threw a two-hitter and was 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, Gabby Smith homered and Kylee Beach was 2-for-4 with a double, drove in a run and scored for Bells (12-4, 4-0), which hosts Howe on Tuesday night.

Chaelie Trojacek was 2-for-3 and drove in a run for Pottsboro (3-8, 1-3), which travels to Blue Ridge on Tuesday.

After Pottsboro tied the game in the fourth, the teams had their chances in the next two innings to claim the lead but it remained deadlocked heading to the seventh.

Alexis Tanguma reached on an error to open the inning and went to second on a one-out passed ball. Beach’s RBI double near the left-field line gave the Lady Panthers the lead and Bailee Dorris tacked on another run with a slow-rolling infield hit near second base.

Cheznie Hale extended the inning when she was hit by a pitch and Emma Downing singled past short to make it 5-2.

Pottsboro brought the tying run to the plate after Chaelie Trojacek singled to center and Sadae Martinez followed with a walk to start the bottom of the seventh. But Tanguma got a pair of strikeouts around a flyout to preserve the win.

In the bottom of the sixth, Aly Malone was hit by a pitch and then sacrificed to second before being stranded there.

Bells’ chance in the top of the inning started when Dorris got to second on an error but Malone sandwiched two groundouts around a strikeout. At that point the Lady Panthers had stranded eight runners in scoring position — including a leadoff double by Tanguma in the fifth.

“Things fell our way in the seventh inning,” Stephens said. “We didn’t get those breaks before then.”

The Lady Cardinals tied the game with their two runs in the fourth. Emily Pittman was hit by a pitch and Malone sacrificed her to second. Kara Nuemann followed with a ball to right that Riley Rolen trapped trying to make a diving catch. She recovered to get the force at second to keep Pottsboro from loading the bases with no outs.

Tessa DelaCruz then walked to load the bases and with two outs, Trojacek hit an infield single and an error on the play allowed Nuemann to come around. A groundout to first kept the score even.

Bells had a 2-0 lead four batters into the game. Smith homered off the scoreboard in left on the very first pitch before Tanguma doubled, Mia Moore walked and Beach singled through the right side for another run.

Malone settled in from there, striking out the next three to limit the damage and she didn’t allow another hit until fifth — working around around a hit by pitch and two errors until then.

“She did excellent,” Stephens said. “Coach Shope had a good gameplan to keep us off balance.”

She was helped by Martinez’s shoestring catch in the second on Tanguma’s sinking line drive to left with one out and a pair of Lady Panthers in scoring position. It saved at least one run, probably two, and a much bigger inning from taking place.

Through the first three innings, Pottsboro’s only base runner was when DelaCruz was hit by a pitch with one out in the second.

District 11-3A

Bells                      5

Pottsboro              2