Jessica Thomas + Henderson Down Mineola 5-3 in Game 1 Of Softball Playoff Series
BULLARD - In a game that featured big hits and big plays, Henderson's Jessica Thomas had the biggest.
The junior catcher delivered a two-out, two-run single in the top of the seventh that gave the Lady Lions a 5-3 win over Mineola in Game 1 of their Class 3A Region II quarterfinal best-of-three series at Brook Hill Ballpark on Friday.
Henderson (27-8) and Mineola (26-8) resume the series with Game 2 at 3 p.m. Saturday at Brook Hill. If a third game is necessary, it will follow 30 minutes later.
"I just wanted to have a good at-bat," Thomas said. "I wanted to stay focused because the crowd was so loud and just block it all out. I went up there with the mindset to just make contact. As long as you make contact, you can move some runners around."
Thomas' hit followed a game-tying homer run by Mineola's Brittney Johnson in the bottom of the sixth. Down 3-1 with two outs, the Southern Arkansas-bound shortstop hit an opposite-field, two-run shot off Henderson ace and Texas signee Tiarra Davis.
"It's just an awesome win," said Henderson coach Kristin Lacy. "It was a total team effort. Everyone came through in their own way. One through 13 of our girls came through. Jessica (Thomas) had a big hit, Natalie (McQuiston) had a big hit, Jaci Hurt had a huge game. You couldn't have them in scoring position without Karley Free's sac bunt. It was a team effort, and Jessica really pulled through. She was clutch."
Henderson got on the board first when McQuiston slapped a two-RBI single to left field off Mineola pitcher Rikkilyn Hass in the third, giving the Lady Lions the early 2-0 lead.
Hurt made it 3-0 with an RBI triple in the fourth. She finished the night 3-for-3 from the nine-spot in the batting order.
Mineola answered in the bottom of the fourth when Texas Woman's University signee Ali Galaz tripled and scored three pitches later on a passed ball.
Davis got the win in the circle, going the distance, yielding three runs (two earned) on six hits, while striking out nine. Hass took the loss for Mineola, pitching a complete game, giving up five runs (two earned) on seven hits.
Henderson 5, Mineola 3
Class 3A Region II Quarterfinals
Brook Hill Ballpark, Bullard
Henderson 002 100 2 -- 5 7 4
Mineola 000 102 0 -- 3 6 3
Henderson: Tiarra Davis and Jessica Thomas. Mineola: Rikkilyn Hass and Morgan Catron.
WP -- Davis.
LP -- Hass.
3B -- Henderson: Jaci Hurt. Mineola: Ali Galaz.
Records -- Henderson: 27-8. Mineola: 26-8.