COAHOMA With two squads trying to keep their historic runs going, Game 1 of the Class 6A regional softball quarterfinals between former district rivals Permian and Abilene High was expected to be an all-out battle.
Backed by a solid pitching performance by Kaylene Washington, the Lady Eagles defeated Permian 2-0 Friday evening at Coahoma High School.
Game 2 takes place at 1 p.m. Saturday. If necessary, Game 3 will follow 30 minutes after Game 2.
Washington threw a complete-game six-hitter with 12 strikeouts and two walks. Permian left five runners on base. The Lady Panthers just could not get the clutch hit they needed.
“We still know that Permian is a great team, and they have a great pitcher,” Abilene head coach Jim Reese said. “So, we’ll have to really come out tomorrow.
“The thing we wanted to do was play a complete game, defensively and pitching. So, K-Wash has done that for us. The last three or four games, she’s pitched two or four three-hitters. The defense behind her was huge.”
Abilene (18-12) got on the board in the top of the first when Kacy Walker scored on an error by the third baseman on a throwback from the catcher.
Permian’s Hannah Banker hit a leadoff double in the bottom of the first, but she was thrown out by the catcher on a steal attempt.
The Lady Eagles went down in order in the second inning. Once again, in the bottom half of the inning, Permian got a runner on after Rylee Day hit a single, but couldn’t score.
Abilene pushed across another run on an RBI single by Sierra Mirelez in the fourth inning.
Permian got into a bases loaded jam in the sixth, but Abilene couldn’t add any more insurance runs as the rally ended on a fly ball to right.
The Lady Panthers (31-4) had a golden opportunity to push across some runs to keep the game going in the bottom of the seventh when Monique Pando hit a leadoff double and Karisma Aguilar drew a walk.
However, the rally came to an end after Banker struck out after a 12-pitch at bat.
Permian pitcher Alexis Morales battled in the circle, throwing a complete-game seven-hitter with six strikeouts and one walk. She allowed just one earned run.
Hunter Harkrider, Day and Brianna Dominguez each went 1 for 3 with a single. Banker finished 1 for 4 with a double.
“We’d get a double and then we couldn’t get her in,” Permian head coach Kristin Williams said. “Hitting the ball wasn’t the problem at the beginning; it’s whenever we’re trying to get people in. We had a hard time with that.
“The girls — I give them props whenever they had bases loaded and we got out of the inning. We need their confidence back. They got a little down today. They struggled on their hitting.”
Abilene was led by Walker, who went 2 for 4 with a single and a double. KK Roberson finished 2 for 4 with two singles.
The Lady Eagles swept their first two opponents to land in the third round. It’s crucial to win Game 1, but they’re expecting a battle.
“We’ll have to really bear down tomorrow. We know a three-game series is long, but to us it’s huge to get ahead,” Reese said. “If we lay an egg somewhere tomorrow, we’ve still got a second game. We’re not planning on it, but a three-game series against the No. 6 team in the state — you’ve just got to be ready.
“The last six weeks (we) started to play good defense and buy into pitching. All year we’ve hit the ball really well.”