COAHOMA — The Forsan Lady Buffaloes have a specific script for success they must follow this softball season.
Unlike the past two state championship teams, this year's squad is not packed with star power and therefore has a smaller margin of error. To succeed, their coach said, the Lady Buffs have to combine good defense with timely hitting and throw in a pinch of pitching if they are going to have any chance of duplicating their past success.
So far, so good.
Forsan received a gutsy pitching performance from Ashley Buzbee, who was supported by almost spotless defense, and capitalized on some Coahoma mistakes to carve out a 6-3 win over the Bulldogettes in District 3-2A play Tuesday night.
Buzbee wasn't overpowering from the pitcher's circle — Coahoma raked her for 12 hits — but she seemed to find an extra gear whenever the Bulldogettes threatened to erase their deficit. And she received no small measure of support from her teammates, who made the most of their eight hits and a pair of Coahoma errors.
“Ashley's doing her job,” Forsan Coach Shanna Roberts said. “We are going to have to do a good job in the field behind her and find ways to score some runs … I was happy with her performance (Tuesday).”
The Lady Buffs gave their pitcher some breathing room in the fourth inning. Leading 2-1, they parlayed singles from Shelby Roemer and Ambra Hill, plus a pair of Coahoma errors into three runs and a 5-1 advantage.
Coahoma didn't go quietly, however, striking for a pair of runs in their half of the inning. The big blow was a two-run single to left off the bat of Emilea Brumley which closed the Bulldogettes' defict to 5-3.
Coahoma wasn't able to get any closer, however, and Buzbee didn't allow a runner past second the rest of the game. She ended the evening with seven strikeouts while issuing only one walk.
Her counterpart for Coahoma, Kyla Clanton, struck out eight and walked two in taking the loss.
Coahoma Coach Tracy Tadlock said his team's two errors in the fourth inning were a big difference in the game.
“(Forsan) is a good club, and at times, we're a good club, but if you make mistakes against a good club, they're going to make you pay, and that's what they did,” he said. “What we need to do is to keep working and find a way to play a mistake-free game.”
The Lady Buffs improved to 17-8 overall and 6-2 in district play to remain in second place in the league standings. Coahoma dropped to 11-18 overall, 4-4 in district action and find themselves in a dogfight for the third and final playoff spot from 3-2A.
Tadlock agreed that every game from here is a must-win situation for the Bulldogettes, but he added that the team has been in must-win mode all season.
“We always feel like every game is a must-win one for us. You have to to approach it that way,” he said. “In terms of making the playoffs, you could say every game is must-win for us, but every game we play is important to us.”
The Bulldogettes return to action Friday at home against Slaton. Game time is 5:30. Forsan's next game is Friday at home vs. Post. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.