Whitewright takes series against Whitesboro to reach region quarterfinals
BELLS — Their backs were against the wall and the Lady Tigers came out swinging.
It was only fitting for a lineup which has produced enough crooked numbers to fill a jail cell that when Whitewright was facing elimination, the batting order might have come up with its best performance.
“I had faith in these girls. We stayed to true to how we have approached everything,” Lady Tigers head coach Zach Gillen said. “You have to take the situations one game at a time, especially in the playoffs. You have to focus on that next game and not worry about what just happened.”
After a contest where they couldn’t string anything together, the Whitewright bats were full of hits — particularly during a 14-run second inning as the Lady Tigers defeated Whitesboro, 18-1, in five innings in the deciding contest of a Class 3A Region II area round series.
Whitewright (25-5), which advances to face Grandview, is in the region quarterfinals for the first time since 2015. The series will be at Rockwall-Heath with Game 1 on Wednesday, Game 2 on Thursday and Game 3, if necessary, on Friday. First pitch for all is 7:30 p.m.
Makayla Alexander was 2-for-4 with a double, four RBI and scored twice, Natalie Alexander was 3-for-5, drove in a run and scored three times, Laura Taylor was 2-for-4 with a double, three RBI and scored twice and Kyleigh Clements was 2-for-5 with a double, triple, two RBI and scored twice for Whitewright.
Whitesboro (20-6) was attempting to get to the third round for the first time since 2014, which was also the last time the program had a playoff victory over before this year.
But after bouncing back from a Game 1 loss, the Lady Bearcats were unable to finish off the double-header sweep needed to advance.
Whitewright’s impressive second-inning outburst started out rather innocuously — after Abreanna Smith walked and Gracie Robinson singled, Karley Wolf picked up two quick outs.
And then a stretch of 13 straight Lady Tigers reached base, 11 of them with hits.
“I thought we were doing a better job of seeing her. She has a great change-up and and we were trying to do whatever we could to get good pitches to hit,” Gillen said. “Did I expect to score 14 runs in one inning? No of course not.”
Makayla Alexander had a two-run double to center to put Whitewright in front and Natalie Alexander followed with an RBI single to center.
It should have remained a 3-1 margin after Clements hit a squibber off the end of the bat back to Wolf. But her throw to first was high and instead of the inning being over, a run scored and the Lady Tigers continued to light up the scoreboard.
Madie Rohre had an RBI single to right before Kiley Anderson drove in a run with a double to center for a 6-1 advantage.
Whitesboro made a switch in the circle to Game 1 starter Maci Graves but she was unable to hold the margin there.
Whitewright reloaded the bases on a Smith single and walk by Robinson. Laura Taylor cleared them with a double to left center.
Kiera Anderson had an RBI double to center and Makayla Alexander kept the line moving with an RBI single.
Clements clubbed a two-run double to left-center and Rohre capped the 14-run frame with a single to bring in the final tally.
The Lady Tigers tacked on a pair of runs in the third and fourth innings.
It was 16-1 after Whitewright loaded the bases with one out and Smith scored on a wild pitch before Makayla Alexander’s RBI groundout to second.
Clements led off the fourth with a triple and Ashton Long had a one-out RBI single to left. She ended up scoring on a wild pitch to fashion the 17-run margin.
Whitesboro scored its run in the bottom of the first, carrying over the momentum of its Game 2 victory. BreAnn Beste and Abby Robinson opened the inning with singles to put runners at the corners and Beste raced home on a wild pitch.
But the Lady Bearcats’ lead quickly disappeared and Whitesboro managed just three more base runners. Rohre threw the first two innings and worked around a leadoff single up the middle by Makayla Adams in the second, stranding her at second before Natalie Alexander went the final three frames, striking out six.
In the third, Beste reached on an error before Olivia Hildebrand had a two-out walk.
Whitesboro had forced the deciding contest with a 9-1 victory earlier in the day. Wolf scattered six hits and three walks while striking out 10, Elly Harper was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and scored three times, Adams was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer, walked and scored twice and Jamie Dickson was 2-for-3 with three RBI.
Adams’ blast to left started the scoring in the second as Whitesboro put up runs in every inning but the first and third.
Makayla Alexander was 3-for-4 and drove in a run, Clements was 2-for-3, Rohre walked twice and Kiera Anderson doubled and scored for the Lady Tigers.
“About everything that could go wrong, did go wrong,” Gillen said.
Kiera and Kiley Anderson homered as Whitewright opened the series with a 5-3 victory.
Rohre allowed a run on two hits with nine strikeouts and two walks in five and two thirds innings and also doubled, walked and drove in a run, Natalie Alexander doubled, walked and scored twice and Clements walked twice and scored for Whitewright, which built a 5-1 advantage after four innings.
Maddy Cole homered, Wolf doubled, drove in a run and scored and Harper singled for Whitesboro.
Class 3A Region II