Lady Cats win Class 2A title 1-0
Strittmatter delivers game-winning hit
By Richard Greene
Before the game Pilot Point coach James Ramsey told his designated player Allison Strittmatter the state title game would come down to her.
The Lady Cats coach was right and the junior delivered.
Strittmatter hit a two-out, full-count pitch to the center-field wall at Red and Charlie McCombs Field to drive in the game’s lone run in the sixth inning of the Pilot Point Lady Cats’ 1-0 Class 2A title-clinching victory over Santa Gertrudis Academy.
“I told Allison Strittmatter tonight is going to be her night,” Ramsey said. “She came through in a big way.”
The state title is the Lady Cats first and the fourth team championship in school history.
“I’m so happy for our community and for our fans,” Strittmatter said. “They deserve this as much as we do.”
Pilot Point ended the season at 40-2-1 with the title. Pilot Point pitcher Skylar Cagle, who earned the MVP award after striking out eight and holding Santa Gertrudis to five hits in a shutout, ended the year a perfect 28-0.
“It means everything. I couldn’t have picked a better group of girls for this to happen to,” Cagle said. “We found a way.”
Ramsey praised his senior hurler.
“What a way to go out, 28-0 and a state champion,” he said. “She’s been just unbelievable.”
But getting the 28th win wasn’t easy as the two teams traded scoreless frames until the bottom of the sixth.
Pilot Point looked to have the makings of a big inning with Haley Evans walking and Cagle bunting for a hit to put two runners on with no one out in the bottom of the sixth. Preslee Gallaway hit a liner to short that Santa Gertrudis’ Celeste Castillo snagged and then threw to first to double off Cagle.
Suddenly with two out, Strittmatter, who hit a three-run homer in the 3-2 game two win over Commerce in the Region II semifinal, stepped in.
“There was two outs and now my turn to be the hero and make a mark,” Strittmatter said about coming to bat.
After Allison Ray moved up to third on a wild pitch, Strittmatter got her chance and lined the ball just to left of dead center to bring home Ray.
““I knew she was going to pitch me outside and I wanted to wait on it and bust it to right center,” Strittmatter said. “I knew we had to get the run in. I wanted to help Skylar out because she was pitching so well. We needed to score and get that run.
“I stepped up. I really wanted to do this for my teammates. They deserved it more than any team that I’ve ever known.”
Before Strittmatter’s hit, the Lady Cats and Cagle needed to work out of three jams with Santa Gertrudis getting multiple runners on with less than two outs.
Cagle got a pop up and strikeout to end the third.
Santa Gertrudis got a pair of singles to lead off the fifth, including a bunt that Cagle tried to go to second on to get an out. But Cagle got the next three with a fielders choice to short, bunt third strike and liner to short.
Santa Gertrudis put two on with a pair of one-out singles in the sixth and moved the runners to second and third on an error. Cagle struck out Kristen Gonzalez and then popped up Kimberly Ruiz to third to end the threat.
Pitching her only inning of the game with a lead, Cagle got a pop out to center and then struck out Carla Noel after an error put the tying run on first.
Daniele Gonzalez then popped the ball up to Mallory Ramsey in left field, who raced in and settled under the ball and secured the final out and the state title for the Lady Cats.
“I knew we had it,” Cagle said about kneeling in the circle waiting for the ball to fall into Ramsey’s glove. “I just waited for her to catch it.”
And the Lady Cats’ wait for a state title ended.