ABILENE One chance.
The Odessa High softball team controlled its fate in Game 2 of its best-of-3 area round series against Mansfield High Friday evening at Abilene Christian University’s Wells Field.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Bronchos had the opportunity to create a winning scenario with one swing of the bat — but it wasn’t to be.
Mansfield, ranked third in Class 6A, kept its perfect record alive by holding on for a 9-7 victory against Odessa High to claim the area title.
The Tigers, who earned comeback victories in both games of the series, will play the winner of the Keller High-Wolfforth Frenship game in the regional quarterfinals.
It was Odessa High’s fourth consecutive trip to the area round of the playoffs and one that its players are sure to remember, and use as motivation as the Lady Bronchos have just one senior on this year’s squad.
“It was a battle. It was a fight,” Odessa High head coach Rachel Pena said. “I told them that this moment, this situation, the toughness of the game is something we can’t duplicate, we can’t replicate in practice or in the offseason.
“I challenged everybody to remember this because this is what we have to practice for.”
In Thursday’s first game of the series, Odessa High lost on a walk-off double after holding a 9-5 lead in the game’s latter innings.
Unfortunately for the Lady Bronchos, Game 2 was a mirror image.
The Lady Bronchos (23-8-1) held a 7-1 lead before Mansfield rallied for six runs in the fifth inning to tie the game.
Mansfield took a 9-7 lead in the sixth after Haley Morse hit an RBI double and Paxton Scheurer drove in a run on a single.
Odessa High was held scoreless in its final three innings. The Lady Bronchos had three hits, while they left five runners stranded.
Mansfield’s pitching staff combined to allow 10 hits with seven strikeouts and three walks.
The Tigers (29-0-1) were led by Kennedy Hardy, who finished 2 for 3 with a single, home run and three RBIs. Scheurer went 2 for 4 with two singles and two RBIs.
Medina Barakat tallied a two-RBI double to highlight the fifth inning rally.
Christabelle Aguirre led the Lady Bronchos, going 2 for 2 with a single, home run, two walks and two RBIs. Skylar Herrera finished 1 for 4 with a triple and two RBIs.
Sierra Camacho went 2 for 4 with a single, double and an RBI.
Odessa High went down battling as they looked for that one key hit late in the game.
“It helps me at least when we get into the offseason … remember that feeling? This is what we’re working for, so we could come back and maybe win this game next year,” Pena said. “They’re fighters and they’re not quitters, and they work hard and that’s what I love about them.
“We just got to find a way to finish, but you can’t say enough about how much they love the game, how much they fought today and this weekend. It’s good.”
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