Midland Trail upsets James Monroe after rocky start in Class A, Region 3 Game One | Sports
HICO – Midland Trail had a tough first run but enjoyed smooth sailing the rest of the way beating James Monroe 9-2 on opening night of the Region 3 Class A Softball Championship Series.
Spurred on by runs batted in from Emille Canterbury and Adyson Hines, the visiting Mavericks posted three hits and two runs in the first half of the first inning to take a quick 2-0 advantage over the Patriots.
Midland Trail had a run in the lower half of the first when Emily Dickerson hit a brace and then scored after escaping a glimpse between third and home.
The Patriots settled in from that point, stringing together three more points – all with two strikeouts – in the second frame to take control and eventually take over the best-of-three series. “Over the year we’ve been a two-man rally team at times,” said Midland Trail head coach Candace Young.
A four-point lift in the fourth quarter then increased the Patriots’ margin to 8-2.
“Coming to the warm-ups, I could see some gloom in us, maybe an underestimation,” Young admitted. “We certainly weren’t as intense as we needed to be from the start.”
After James Monroe placed the hosts in the first hole, the Patriots made a few adjustments that turned out to be exactly what the doctor ordered.
“I don’t call locations,” Young said. “(Pitchers Emmie Lopetrone and Meghan Gill and wide receiver Sydney Sheets) have better points of view. They saw what they were rocking in that first run and what they could come in contact with, and they adjusted to the mound.
“And, I think that gave our daughters (the idea), ‘We should probably wake up and play a little harder.'”
Including the first inning, the starter Lopetrone ended up giving just four hits and two earned runs while striking out seven on strikes and walking none in a five-inning stint. Gill pitched two scoreless hitting innings with two strikeouts in relief.
James Monroe’s head coach Greg Wickline called the second run of Trail “a big turning point in the game.” It was 2-1 and it ended up being 4-2.
“You can’t ask for better, two withdrawals and no one over,” he said. “You have to do this next game. You can’t walk with anyone. We got behind some hitters.
“They hit what they wanted to hit, not what we wanted them to hit.”
“We have to do these routine games,” he added.
The 16-game winning Patriots produced 10 hits on the evening, with just one player – center fielder Madison Campbell – having a multi-hit game. Young was happy to see such a balanced production from her students.
“You never know in our roster which girl is going to step up,” she said. “I give out stickers for hits and everything. I think today was the very first game where I gave each girl a sticker. Every girl played a part in that one and got at least one hit during the game.
In his last five innings, James Monroe has gone three-up, three-down.
“We didn’t have cavities, it was a big problem,” Wickline said. “We did some unusual things that we usually don’t do, maybe just out of nervousness or whatever. I do not know.
“We’ll try to clean this stuff up before tomorrow and see what happens.”
The two teams will face off again on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Lindside. If Midland Trail survives this contest, it advances to the State Tournament. If the Mavericks finish the series on Tuesday, the deciding game will be played at Hico on Wednesday for the state tournament spot.
“We have to tighten up defensively,” Young said. “We can’t come out dead right off the bat like we did today.”
“Bunt the ball; man, we had a hard time cushioning the ball, ”she said. “Sure, when I give you the decay (signal), take that sucker down and get something moving.”
Midland Trail 9, James monroe 2
James Monroe …….. 200,000 0 – 2 4 4
Midland Trail …….. 130 401 x – 9 10 2
Shannon Phipps and Emille Canterbury; Emmie Lopetrone, Meghan Gill (6) and Sydney Sheets. W — Lopetrone, L — Phipps. Hitting – JM: H. Hunnicut 1-3, E. Canterbury 1-3 (rbi), A. Hines 1-3 (2b, rbi), S. Collins 1-3; TA: M. Campbell 2-4 (3b, rbi), M. Gill 1-4 (rbi), E. Dickerson 1-3 (2b), S. Sheets 1-3 (2b), E. Lopetrone 1-2 , F. Bailes 1-4, L. Tompkins 1-3, Jo. Stonestreet 1-3 (rbi), C. Skaggs 1-4 (2b)