HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Permian’s Bernal delivers key hit in victory

Monahans softball coach Lindsie Swarb, in her own words, “jumped the gun.”

Swarb made a pitching change in the bottom of the sixth inning against Permian, pulling starter Brooke Sanchez and moving Brylee Merrick from third into the circle.

Sanchez, a freshman, had kept the Lady Panthers at bay to that point, but Permian’s Hilda Rayos had worked a walk to lead off the inning and put the potential tying run on base.

Merrick struggled to find the plate as Rayos stole second and moved to third on a passed ball before Permian’s Iliana Garcia coaxed another walk to put runners on first and third.

Garcia promptly stole second base with Makenzie Bernal at the plate and suddenly the Lady Panthers had the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position with no outs.

Bernal delivered.

Stepping into a pitch, she laced a line-drive, three-run home run to left-center field that gave Permian the lead for good in what would end up a 4-2 victory in nondistrict play on Tuesday at the Ratliff Softball Complex.

Makayla Sanchez followed with a solo home run for the Lady Panthers, while Merrick exacted a measure of revenge in the top of the seventh with a long home run to center field for the final margin.

Permian’s Anaya Paredes struck out eight to earn the complete-game-victory.

“This one is all on me,” Swarb said after talking with her players following the contest. “She (Sanchez) had done a great job and when she opened with a walk in the sixth, I thought she was getting tired and made the change.

“I should have just let her finish because she hadn’t really been in trouble. I’ll take the blame for this loss; I was just too quick to make the switch.”

Permian improved to 12-7-2 on the season, while Monahans dropped to 8-9.

The Lady Loboes scratched out a run in the first inning with a leadoff single by Braelyn Noyola, followed by a one-out double by Addyson Carrasco to put runners on second and third.

Merrick then laced a pitch off Paredes’ glove to drive home Noyola with the Lady Loboe’s first run of the game.

Paredes was able to get out of the inning with a strikeout and groundout to keep Monahans from doing any further damage.

The Lady Panthers had baserunners in every inning except the fourth but could capitalize until their rally in the sixth.

“Anaya missed a few spots early and she worked and got the focus back and got back to her spots,” Permian’s first-year head coach Darren Pool said. “I’ve told them since I got here that you have to keep your focus, you have to stay the course and ride out the waves and just keep doing things that you’re supposed to do.

“You just start to make minor adjustments and that’s what we started to do in the sixth inning, made some adjustments at the plate and it worked out for us.”

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