HALLSVILLE -- Lufkin and Mansfield Legacy delivered Saturday in their one-game Class 5A area round playoff.

It's a shame the two teams couldn't get together a second time. As they were initially scheduled.

Legacy took the game 5-2. The team was elated, but it couldn't help feeling sympathetic toward the Lady Panthers.

Rainy weather Friday condensed what was supposed to be a three-game series at Lindale ISD Softball Complex into a winner-takes-all game at Hallsville's Field of Dreams. And, without a second chance, Lufkin's promising season screeched to a halt.

"It's frustrating for both of us," Legacy head coach Amie Prater said, referencing Lady Panthers counterpart Heather Slaton. "I know she has a senior-heavy team and this was really a strong year for them. She wanted the game in and I wanted the game in. We just couldn't."

Both teams reached Lindale on Friday and were able to go through warm ups ahead of the scheduled double-header and a potential third game Saturday. Weather hit the game site before the first pitch was thrown and rendered the field unplayable for the day.

Lufkin returned home. Legacy checked into a local hotel.

Both teams asked Hallsville head coach Pat Eitel to keep his field on standby around midnight. It was a request that would allow next week's competition to scout them with more convenience.

Eitel's squad had already swept Mansfield Timberview at home and knew it was going to face the winner of the game.

Already resolved to play a one-game playoff, Prater surveyed the Lindale site Saturday morning and it looked playable. But another rain shower rolled through, prompting the venue change.

"It works out for him," Prater said. "He got to scout both teams. If I was in his position, I'd do the exact same thing. He got out here and got his guys working. We truly appreciate it. I have a feeling we'll be in the same position next week. It looks like rain, rain, rain, rain each day."

The clouds broke long enough for Lufkin and Legacy to get their game in.

It was an uphill battle for the Lady Panthers. Legacy freshman pitcher Sophie Hannabas threw a no-hitter through 4 2/3 innings while her team built up a 5-0 lead.

All of its runs were scored in the top fifth.

Leadoff hitter Reagan Wright drew a bases-loaded walk with no outs to start the scoring. Shortstop Meagan Dake hit a grand slam to left-center field four pitches later.

Lufkin didn't sulk in the bottom half of the frame. With Lindsey Akridge and Lindsay McElveen in scoring position, pitcher Alexsandra Flores grounded past first base for an RBI single and a fielding error allowed another run in the same sequence.

The Lady Panthers left the bases loaded in the bottom sixth and had two runners in scoring position before a game-ending swinging strikeout.

"I think we kept fighting until the very last out," Slaton said. "I don't think they were ready to give up. I still don't think they're ready to give up, you know? They didn't quit and that's just a testament to those kids and who they are."

Flores finished the game with eight hits allowed and 11 strikeouts.

Hannabas surrendered five hits through the final 2 1/3 innings.

Legacy will take on Hallsville this week in the regional quarterfinal round. It will be the third consecutive year the two teams meet in the postseason.

"It's a repeat every year," Prater said. "It's my first year at Legacy, but I know we've played the last two seasons in a row. I know they're about the same team they were last year. We've looked at scores and talked to some people. We know we have a challenge in front of us."

Times, dates and venues are still being worked out, but Hallsville seemed optimistic it could arrange a neutral-site setup in Forney.

Prater added Legacy will be more flexible in its scheduling than it has been in recent weeks.

"We're certainly going to try to avoid being in the same position," Prater said. "There's no testing next week and that will open up some times to play earlier in the week or try to get one game in earlier in the week so that we'll have a grace period to find an opening if necessary."

Mansfield Legacy 5, Lufkin 2

Class 5A Area Round Playoff Game
At Field Of Champions, Hallsville

Legacy             000   050   0    --     5    8   2
Lufkin               000    020   0    --    2    5   0

Pitchers and catchers
  • Legacy: Sophie Hannabas and Reagan Wright
  • Lufkin: Alexsandra Flores and Rachel Hill

WP -- Hannabas
LP -- Flores

Doubles
  • Legacy: Britanny Munoz, Karlie Wilburn
Home Runs
  • Legacy: Meagan Dake