HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL: Odessa High’s big fourth inning lifts Lady Bronchos to win over rival Permian

It was the one chance the Odessa High softball team was going to get the entire night against rival Permian and the Lady Bronchos capitalized.

Alizea Garza hit a two-run home run and Novalyn Ontiveros added a two-run single, both in the fourth inning, as the Lady Bronchos were able to use that one-half inning to get past the Lady Panthers 5-2 in District 2-6A play Friday night at the Ratliff Softball Complex.

It was the only inning of the game that Odessa High (17-5-1 overall, 3-2 in district) got any hits as Permian starter Miranda Martinez was in control the rest of the night.

“That’s a very good team over there,” Odessa High coach Rachel Pena said. “They manufactured a run in the first inning and took advantage of a mistake in the second inning to score runs and that what good teams do.

“And Miranda was pitching well tonight, too. We got a huge hit from Alizea and were able to get some more runs that inning and they held up.”

Odessa High’s victory creates a three-way tie for second place with Permian and Wolfforth Frenship, with all three sitting one game behind Midland High, which defeated Wolfforth Frenship Friday.

Permian travels to Midland Lee for a 4:30 p.m. game Tuesday, while the Lady Bronchos host Midland High at 7 p.m. at the Ratliff Softball Complex.

The Lady Panthers (13-8-1, 3-2) scored solo runs in both the first and second innings, the first on an RBI double by Brianna Dominguez that plated Hannah Banker, the second coming after Rylee Day led off the second inning with a double and scored on a throwing error on Monique Pando’s ground ball to third.

The way that Martinez was pitching, that looked like it might be enough as she had four strikeouts the first time through the Lady Bronchos’ lineup. In the top of the fourth, however, Cami Deanda worked a walk to lead off the inning, bringing Garza to the plate.

Then, on a 1-2 pitch, Garza hit a line drive through the gusting winds that never rose more than 10 feet off the ground, clearing the left-center field wall to tie the game.

With one out, Skylar Herrera singled to center and moved to second on a walk to Sierra Camacho. Herrera was forced at third base on Kyra Jacquez’s fielder’s choice, with Camacho scoring on Andrea Molinar’s double.

Ontiveros singled to right-center field to drive home Jaquez and Molinar, with the Panthers throwing Ontiveros out at second as she tried to stretch her base hit.

“That’s a good team,” Permian coach Kristin Williams said. “We have a great district; you never know what’s going to happen in this district, we’re all good.

“It didn’t work out the way we wanted it to tonight.”

Not that the Lady Panthers didn’t try to get back into the game, putting runners in scoring position in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

Lady Bronchos starter Elva Castillo got herself out of a jam in the fifth innings with a strikeout and catcher Deanda helped Odessa High escape in the fourth and sixth inning when she picked off a runner to end the inning.

It was especially big in the sixth inning when Deanda threw behind a Permian runner at third base with the bases loaded and Banker at the plate.

Banker proceeded to double to lead off the seventh, base hit that likely would have cleared the bases an inning earlier. Banker, Brianna Dominguez and Rylee Day all had doubles for the Lady Panthers.

“Cami came up huge for us tonight,” Pena said. “Permian has great speed and baits you into trying those throws and tonight Cami made two great throws to get us out of trouble. She was the difference tonight.”