ABILENE The Odessa High softball team’s best-of-3 area round series against the Mansfield High Tigers was an instant classic and a battle.
After dropping Game 1 on a walk-off double, Odessa High had to come out firing from the start against the third-best team in Class 6A.
The Lady Bronchos held a 7-1 lead before Mansfield High scored eight runs in the final two innings to secure a 9-7 win and an area title.
Odessa High had a golden opportunity in the bottom of the seventh to win the game, but it left the bases loaded.
The Lady Bronchos started that frame with two hits and filled up the bases with a walk with one out. Unfortunately for Odessa High, its season ended with two straight outs.
“I’m proud of their fight,” Odessa High head coach Rachel Pena said. “I told them you don’t get to this level without having some fight.
“It’s tough because I wanted to win so badly, mainly for them. I’m proud of them. We switched things up from yesterday and executed a little better. We have to learn from this.”
Christabelle Aguirre sparked a three-run rally for Odessa High with a two-run home run in the second inning.
The Lady Bronchos (23-8-1) pushed across one more run in the third on an RBI single by Sierra Camacho to extend their lead to 4-0.
Mansfield did not have a single hit until Reagan Hukill hit an RBI double in the third.
A two-RBI triple by Skylar Herrera sparked another three-run rally for the Lady Bronchos in the bottom of the fourth.
Trailing 7-1, the Tigers fought back by scoring six runs in the top of the fifth, which tied the game. Kennedy Hardy had a three-run home run in the rally.
In their final three innings, the Lady Bronchos left five runners stranded, while tallying three hits.
Mansfield (29-0-1) added some insurance runs in the sixth with a RBI double by Haley Morse and an RBI single by Paxton Scheurer.
Aguirre finished 2 for 2 with a single, homer and two RBIs. Camacho went 2 for 4 with a single, double and an RBI.
In the circle, Camacho threw 6.1 innings allowing nine hits with two walks and one strikeout.
Noeli Suarez went 2 for 4 with two singles.
The Mansfield pitching staff accounted for 10 hits, three walks and seven strikeouts.
Hardy went 2 for 3 with a single, homer and three RBIs, while Hukill finished 2 for 4 with two doubles and a walk.
Medina Barakat finished 1 for 4 with a double and two RBIs.
Mansfield…… 001 0620 — 9 10 1
Odessa………. 031 3000 — 7 9 3
Emilee Watkins and McKayla Thorley. Sierra Camacho and Myka High. W — Watkins. L — Camacho. 2B — Odessa High: Camacho; Mansfield: Thorley, Medina Barakat, Haley Morse, Reagan Hukill. 3B — Odessa High: Abigail Rodriguez, Skylar Herrera. HR — Odessa High: Christabelle Aguirre; Mansfield: Kennedy Hardy.
Records — Mansfield (29-0-1); Odessa High (23-8-1).