MINEOLA -- Down three runs early in the area playoffs didn't seem to rattle the Mineola Lady Jackets. And center fielder Ali Galaz proved that.

The Texas Woman's University signee went 3-for-4 with a game-high five RBIs and had a game-changing diving catch that was the turning point in Mineola's 10-3 series-clinching rout of Crandall in Game 2 of their Class 3A Region II area-round playoff on Saturday.

Mineola (26-7) advanced to the regional quarterfinals to face the No. 6 Henderson Lady Lions next week at a time and place to be determined.

Crandall scored three runs in the first two innings, but Mineola scored the rest. The Lady Jackets scored four in the third and six more over the next three innings to put away the Lady Pirates.

"Once we saw (Crandall pitcher Bailey Buchanan) once through the lineup, we started pounding her," said Mineola coach Jana Nance. "And when our girls rattle the opposing pitcher, that usually does it for us and our bats come alive. If we hit like that every time, the sky's the limit."

Mineola pitcher Rikkilynn Hass went the distance, giving up three runs on eight hits, while racking up six strikeouts. She only surrendered two hits in the final three frames.

Morgan Catron got the scoring started for Mineola in the third when she was hit in the head by a pitch with the bases loaded, scoring Southern Arkansas signee Brittney Johnson. Sister Green then delivered an RBI groundout -- two runs scored, one on an error that tied the game at 3-3.

Then Galaz stepped up. She slapped an double to the gap, scoring Green as Mineola took its first lead, 4-3.

"We face Henderson next, but our girls can hit anybody," said Nance. "If we hit and our defense is as solid as it has been lately, then you can tell me we're playing Texas, and I'm sure my girls can handle it. I'm not worried at all."

In the top of the fifth, Crandall was threatening with two outs when Ally Webb sent a drive into the left-center gap. Galaz laid out and made a spectacular catch to rob the Lady Pirate of extra bases, helping Mineola cling to its one-run advantage.

In the bottom half of the next inning, Galaz stepped up again.

She sent an Buchanan offering to the opposite field, only a few feet from the right-center wall for a triple that scored two runs and increased the lead to 6-3.

"It only takes us seeing a pitcher one time around, and once we get the timing down, we're good to go," said Galaz. "It takes leaders on the team, so why not step up and perform. We knew (Buchanan) got rattled and we took advantage."


Mineola 10, Crandall 3

Class 3A Region II Area Playoff
(Best-of-three series)

Game 2
Mineola High School

Crandall           120    000    0    --    3    8    1
Mineola            004    123    x    --   10  10    1

Crandall: Bailey Buchanan and Tara Woodham. Mineola: Rikkilyn Hass and Morgan Catron.

WP -- Hass.
LP -- Buchanan.

2B -- Mineola: Ali Galaz (2).
3B -- Mineola: Galaz.

Mineola's Rikkilyn Hass steps in the circle against Crandall during Game 2 of their Class 3A Region II area playoff series Saturday in Mineola. (© Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)