LINDALE -- Thursday's Class 5A bi-district playoff game probably isn't one either Hallsville head coach Pat Eitel or Lindale's Meredith Grant will make special effort to remember in the longterm future.

Pitching was hit-or-miss as was the defense at times. It took about 300 combined balls and strikes to get through the contest.

However, there were things both sides can look at positively heading into today's Game 2 in a best-of-three series following Hallsville's 14-7 win at the Lindale I.S.D. Softball Complex.

The Ladycats, the first-seed team from District 15-5A and a state semifinalist squad a year ago, had to figure out a way to win without their ace pitcher. Hailee Hollan sustained a late-season injury and is not expected to be available until the second round of the playoffs.

Lindale, the fourth-seed from District 16-5A, scrapped for two leads ahead of a manageable 5-3 deficit before giving up a nine-run top of the seventh.

"The kids came through," Eitel said. "What can you say? We battled every time we got down. We found a way to manufacture runs, tie it up and put pressure on them. Then, finally, we opened it up. I kept telling the kids, 'Late in the innings, just stay patient. Pitching gets a little different and then all of a sudden you get a little better.'"

Emma Hawthorne slips past Lindale relief pitcher Hannah Knox after a double steal. The run gave Lindale a 14-3 lead into the bottom of the seventh.

Hallsville (30-2) broke a 3-3 draw through five innings in the sixth frame on a chip from Emily Morin with starting pitcher Madison McElroy on second base. Morin's hit went for a single into shallow right field, but a fielding error and the ball's roll deeper into the outfield allowed Morin an assited inside-the-park home run.

Lindale (18-12) sent four batters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth for no runs and then allowed nine runs off five hits, two errors, a fielder's choice for no out and a double steal to go down 14-3.

The Lady Eagles responded in the bottom of the seventh for four runs on four walks, two errors and one base hit before Hallsville could get its third and final out.

"I told them we had them down," Eitel said. "They were probably going to leave thinking, 'Oh gosh. What happened?' And now we've given them a little hope. We gave them something for tomorrow. Something to hold their hat on."

Eitel's roster found itself in a hole early. Lindale sent seven batters to the plate in the bottom of the first after creating an 8-6 double play to get out of the top half.

Jodi DeHart, the sixth Lady Eagles batter, forced in a run with a two-out, bases loaded walk.

Morin evened the score in the second inning on contact and an error -- the first of four against Lindale -- with Hannah Mizell standing on third base.

The Lady Eagles built a 3-1 advantage in the third inning when DeHart doubled to the left field wall on a full count with Hannah Knox and Lorin Reue on the bags.

But Hallsville answered right back on Morin's hit to left field with Mizell standing on third base again and Addison Blissett's RBI sacrifice to score McElroy the next at-bat.

McElroy took the complete game win in the circle on 119 pitches.

Game 2 will be played at 6 p.m. in Hallsville.

If the Lady Eagles take today's contest and even the series at one game apiece, Game 3 will be played at 10 a.m. Saturday in Lindale.

"They got a little nervous," Eitel said. "First playoff game. That's what we're hoping. We just needed to get through this one."

Hallsville second baseman Lorena Ramirez applies a tag on Lindale's Allie Thompson for 9-4 double play in the sixth inning of Thursday's game. The Lady Eagles will try to fight away elimination today at 6 p.m. in Hallsville.

Hallsville 14, Lindale 7

Class 5A Bi-District Playoff Round, Game 1
At Lindale ISD Softball Complex

Hallsville      010    202    9    --   14   10  2
Lindale        102    100    4    --     7   7   4

Pitchers and catchers
  • Hallsville: Madison McElroy and Emma Hawthorne
  • Lindale: Lorin Reue, Hannah Knox (7) and Allie Thompson
  • WP -- McElroy
  • LP -- Reue
Doubles
  • Hallsville: Hawthorne, Allison Blissett, Elizabeth Davis
  • Lindale: Jodi DeHart