Reding, Lady Chaps make third round
By Richard Greene
Aubrey senior Kaley Reding saw her previous three trips to the playoffs cut short in the first two rounds.
The Aubrey hurler made sure she and her seven fellow seniors didn’t suffer the same fate Saturday, delivering another dominating performance to lead the Lady Chaparrals to a sweep of Ferris.
Reding struck out 11 and held Ferris to four hits in a 6-2 victory at John Paul II High School in Plano to secure the Class 3A Region II area title and advance to the region quarterfinal.
“There are so many emotions going through my mind right now,” Reding said. “I’m just completely excited to get past this point. We’re finally going on to the third round.”
Aubrey (26-8) will meet Sanger, which knocked off Community Saturday, in the region quarterfinal. No time or location has been set for the matchup.
Aubrey will be in the round for the first time since 2008 when it made the region final.
“With this group, it’s the farthest they have been,” said Aubrey coach Shon Ranton. “At the start of the season, we talked about realistic goals. This is the goal we set.”
Reding’s work in the pitcher’s circle played a pivotal role in getting there. After eight shutout innings in the sweep of Decatur in the bi-district round, the senior struck out 11 in a shutout Friday of Ferris (18-14). She extended her scoreless streak to 18 innings with the first two innings Saturday that including four straight strikeouts to start the game.
“All week, I worked on pitches I’ve thrown in previous years,” she said. “Wednesday at my pitching practice everything felt good. I knew it was going to be a good week.”
Despite the perfect two innings to start the game, Ranton expected to see more from her.
“She was not throwing as hard as last night,” he said. “After they got a couple of hits and runs, she buckled down and turned it on.”
Ferris broke Reding’s scoreless string in the top of the third with a one-out single by Ferris’ Leah Yarborough. Ferris added another run to take a 2-0 lead after a bunt and a two-out single to center by Sam Jones.
Reding gave up one more hit to Carley Jo Hartis before ending the inning with a strikeout
She allowed only one more hit over the final four innings.
“She had a really good riseball that was giving us problems,” said Ferris coach JJ Eusay. “We got to her that one inning and got some hits together on her. But she’s a senior and has a lot of experience and she held in there and battled. We had a lot of problems with her riseball, and once she started throwing the changeup for strikes we had problems there. She’s a really good pitcher.”
The Aubrey bats couldn’t take advantage of early chances, stranding four on base in the first two innings. After Ferris plated the two runs in the top of the third, Aubrey responded with a run off a single by Kayla Sullivan and two errors from Ferris.
Aubrey couldn’t push across another run despite having runners at first and second with no one out.
The Lady Chaparrals made up for the early missed opportunities in the bottom of the fourth. Erin DeLaSantos led off with a single. Melanie Funk brought her home an out later driving a ball over the left fielder’s head for a game-tying triple.
“The at-bat before I had a chance to drive in a run and grounded out to the pitcher,” Funk said. “I told myself, ‘I had to get the run in this time. This is my turn.’ I did what I was taught, got the hit and brought the run in.”
Sullivan brought Funk home with a sacrifice bunt to give Aubrey the lead 3-2.
It was one of three bunts the Lady Chaparrals got down in the game.
“Putting the bunt down was huge for us,” Ranton said. “We did an excellent job with the small game.”
The Lady Chaparrals added three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth that included Haley Bottorff’s RBI-triple to the right-field fence.
It turned out to be insurance that wasn’t needed. Reding got a strikeout and a couple of pop outs to DeLaSantos at second base to finish the game and series and send her classmates into unchartered territory.