SAN ANGELO — Head Softball Coach Shanna Taylor has never lost a bi-district playoff round in her tenure as manager at Forsan and Clyde-Eula was unable to change that Saturday, as the Lady Buffaloes routed the Lady Pirates, 13-2.
Eula did give Forsan a little scare in the early going.
A walk, a stolen base and a RBI single gave the Lady Pirates a 1-0 lead they would hold until the top of the third.
“I knew we would start hitting,” Taylor said of the brief disadvantage. “I'm really pleased with our offense. All nine players in the lineup can hit and I have four girls on the bench who are capable of coming in and hitting, too. We didn't let it rattle us and we came back.”
Taylor cited Ali Knight and Maria Ortiz as two catalysts for the dominant performance.
“It was definitely a team effort,” Taylor said, “Ali had a couple walks, but she did a good job pitching for us. Maria's home run really helped out. Everybody else started hitting behind her.”
Kaylee Kemper led off the third with a single, Jahnia Willard was hit by a pitch and Knight singled to load the bases. Kayla Tilley picked up a RBI base hit to tie the game 1-1, but the Buffs weren't done.
Rosie Munoz connected and reached on an error as an unearned run crossed home plate, Shelby Roemer and Gabby Womack had back-to-back singles and another fielding error by Eula led to three more Forsan runs.
With two outs and a runner on base, Ortiz hammered one out of the park as the Lady Buffs batted through their entire lineup, taking a 7-1 lead before Kemper — who got the rally started as the lead-off hitter — was thrown out at first base.
A pair of walks a fielder's choice and a single by Eula made it a 7-3 game going into the top of fourth. A RBI single by Munoz scored Knight, but Forsan left the bases loaded. It didn't come back to haunt the Lady Buffs, as Knight — who issued four walks and struck out three — settled down in the circle, retiring the Eula batters in order for two straight innings.
Knight led off the top of the sixth with a double and stiole third base, making for an easy RBI for Tilley, who singled. Munoz followed suit with an infield single to load the bases once again. Roemer, who went 4-4 at the plate, recorded another RBI single, with another run scoring as a result of two more errors by the Eula defense.
Womack hit a chopper to the circle, but the ball was bobbled and she reached to keep the bases loaded.
Pinch hitting for senior Stephanie Duffer, freshmen Lindsey Boeker connected for a RBI single, with an extra run scoring on an error — the eighth committed by Eula during the outing.
With no outs, Ortiz and Kemper drew consecutive walks, scoring run No. 13 for the Lady Buffs before a fly out and double play ended the inning.
Forsan returned the favor, turning a double play of its own in the bottom of the sixth, then throwing out a runner at first for the final out of the game.
Taylor spoke about her team's rising confidence in the defensive aspect of the game.
“Our defense played a part in the win,” Taylor explained. “They're finally getting the confidence and trust in each other that they need. They know if someone makes a mistake, someone else will be there to back them up.”
The competition may be a bit steeper for the Lady Buffs, as they prepare to take on Eldorado in the area round — the No. 11 ranked team in the state.
“We will make some adjustments for Eldorado,” Taylor added. “We will continue to work on our hitting. They're undefeated, so we aren't taking them lightly, but I still feel like it will come down to who has the stronger offense. We're going to go out there take care of business and hope it pans out on our end.”
The place and date for the Eldorado game will likely be finalized today, according to Taylor.