Ennis Rallies Late to Top Hallsville in Opening Game of 4A Region II Championship
BULLARD -- Hallsville received a long talk from head coach Pat Eitel and company Thursday after coughing up a late one-run lead for a 7-3 loss against Ennis in Game 1 of the Class 4A Region II championship series.
It's all in the response now. Some playoff teams rally with their best effort and others fold at the second game's first adverse point.
The objective in this talk was to set the wheels in motion for a positive performance in today's critical 7 p.m. game at Bullard Brook Hill's Schwab Field.
"We've been solid all year and all of a sudden -- We're playing a great hitting team," an upbeat Eitel said. "We knew it coming in and we just didn't play the way we've played all year. I think the pressure got to us a little. But, you know, we live to see another day. We'll play tomorrow and see what happens."
Hallsville can compete with Ennis. The Ladycats had a 3-2 edge through five full innings despite a dangerous Lady Lions' lineup and a small strike zone both sides had to feel out time and time again.
Things simply slid out of control in the sixth with a series of mental errors, and there wasn't much room to recover.
Ennis' Julia Hollingsworth led off the bottom sixth with a double and was batted in by Michaela Cochran's single to center field on the next at-bat.
Damage didn't stop there.
Cochran decided to go for second base as Hallsville center fielder Julie Ann Rawls wound up for a throw to home. Seeing this, Ladycats pitcher Cassidy Ferrill fielded the late throw and fired to second base for the more realistic out.
Unfortunately for Hallsville, the throw from the circle missed the mark and rolled all the way back to deep center field. Cochran scored to give Ennis a 4-3 lead.
The Lady Lions then put two runners on the bags with base hits.
Hallsville looked like it was going to trade a run for the first out of the frame when Ennis' Kinsey Skroh grounded to third base, but the first baseman caught the ball off the bag.
The Ladycats got their first out of the bottom sixth on the sixth batter faced.
Ennis' seventh batter doubled to score the two runners which gave Ennis its commanding 7-3 lead.
"We've never been here before and everybody is just a little keyed up," Eitel said. "Maybe we'll come back a little more relaxed and see how we'll do."
Eitel's team took leads at two different points in the game before it ultimately succumbed.
A two-out fielding error gave Hallsville a 1-0 lead in the first. The Ladycats extended the lead to 2-0 with Madison McElroy's RBI triple in the top of the fourth.
Ennis tied the game with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, but Nicole Linton reclaimed the lead for Hallsville with a base hit single in the fifth inning.
The Ladycats are seeking their first Austin appearance since 2001. The team had never before reached the regional finals in Eitel's nine-year tenure.
Don't cancel the parade just yet. The program is still only two games away from the big show.
"It's a different challenge for us now," Eitel said. "We'll have to play hard and try to double dip them and get to Austin."
Ennis 7, Hallsville 3
Class 4A Region II Final Playoff Series -- Game 1
At Brook Hill's Schwab Field
Hallsville 100 110 0 -- 3 9 3
Ennis 000 205 x -- 7 10 1
Pitchers and catchers
- Hallsville: Cassidy Ferrill and Emma Hawthorne.
- Ennis: Taylor Maliska and Kinsey Skroh.
WP -- Maliska.
LP -- Ferrill.
- Hallsville: Julie Ann Rawls.
- Ennis: Courtlyn Benitez (2), Julia Hollingsworth.
- Hallsville: Madison McElroy.