• September 19, 2019

HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Odessa High finishes sweep of Franklin to advance to area round - Odessa American: Oavarsity

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HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Odessa High finishes sweep of Franklin to advance to area round

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Posted: Saturday, April 27, 2019 7:43 pm

Winning in the playoffs takes persistence, patience and readiness to take advantage of opportunities.

The Odessa High softball team was able to check off all of those items as the Lady Bronchos pulled away for an 11-1 victory in five innings over El Paso Franklin on Saturday at the Ratliff Softball Complex.

The Lady Bronchos (26-7 overall) swept the best-of-three bi-district series to advance to the area round against Abilene High, which won its series against Arlington High on Saturday.

Date, time and place for that matchup are still to be determined.

“I thought we came out and pressed a little bit early on because everyone wanted to do well,” Odessa High head coach Rachel Pena said. “They settled down and started to hit the ball well later on and I’m glad we were able to make that adjustment.”

Aside from the offense, the Lady Bronchos got a boost in the circle from starting pitcher Sierra Camacho.

Camacho was locked in a battle early with the top of the lineup for Franklin (18-19) and the Lady Cougars were able to load the bases.

But after more than 30 pitches in the inning, the junior was able to work her way out of the jam, throwing a runner out at the plate and forcing a fielder’s choice to end the top of the first inning unscathed.

“That first inning gave me a big boost in confidence,” Camacho said. “I was able to rely on my defense because I knew they could help me out.”

“It makes a difference when Sierra is out in the circle and plays her game,” Pena said. “Once we saw that she was able to work out of those jams, we knew it was going to be a good day.”

The Lady Bronchos didn’t take long to take advantage as senior Skylar Herrera drove in the first run of the game with an RBI double to bring in Alyssa Deanda. Herrera later scored on a wild pitch for the second run of the inning.

The early lead gave Camacho a lift in the circle as she struck out the next five batters she faced.

In the third inning, however, an RBI single from Naya Youtsey put the Lady Cougars on the board.  Despite loading the bases again, Franklin did not get any more runners across as another strikeout from Camacho ended the rally.

The Lady Cougars had other chances to score in the fourth with runners on first and third, but were unable to convert.

That set the scene for a breakout bottom half of the inning for Odessa High.

After Camacho was hit by a pitch to lead off and after a fielder’s choice by Deanda, Herrera stepped up and hit a two-run home run to right-center field to make it 4-1.

That was just the beginning of what turned into a seven-run fourth for the Lady Bronchos. Kaylean Ayala followed the homer with a double of her own and later scored on a wild pitch.

After that, Abigale Rayos and Christabelle Aguirre hit back-to-back RBI doubles to push the lead to 8-1.

Hailey Prentice capped off the scoring with an RBI single as the Lady Bronchos sent 12 batters to the plate in a back-breaking inning for Franklin.

“It was a hard-fought game, but things just went the wrong way for us in the fourth inning,” Franklin head coach Denise Contreras said. “It was still a close game at 2-1 and (Odessa High) just got up on us.

“They are a good hitting team and we just kind of fell apart after that.”

As for Odessa High, the inning was exactly what it was looking for after not being able to take advantage of its chances earlier in the game.

“We knew we had to back up Sierra so we needed to be able to string some hits together,” Herrera said. “The pitcher (Youtsey) kept us off balance a little bit but we did a good job of making adjustments and being ready to hit.”

Camacho recorded three more strikeouts in the fifth to reach 10 for the game before a two-run single by Rayos in the bottom of the frame ended the game.

>> Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas

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