Cagle one-hits Brock in 4-0 win
Larson finishes 3-for-4 with RBI
By Richard Greene
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Skylar Cagle gave up a single to center field by Brock’s Mikayla Smith.
It was the lone hit, the Pilot Point senior hurler surrendered in a dominating 4-0 victory over Brock in game one of the Class 2A Region II Final series at Chisholm Trail High School.
Cagle struck out 16 and allowed only one Brock runner past first base.
“I knew I had to hit my spots against this team and I did a good job doing that,” Cagle said. “But it’s not over. It could’ve easily been 0-0 that last inning. We have to come out tomorrow and get on these guys.”
Game two is at 7 p.m. Friday back at Chisholm Trail. With a victory, Pilot Point (37-2-1) can earn its first trip to the state tournament since 2005.
But the Lady Cats are not about to celebrate or look ahead. Brock (32-11) rallied after dropping the first game to Mt. Vernon in the region semifinals to take the series.
“It’s a long ways from over,” said Pilot Point coach James Ramsey. “They came back and won two against Mt. Vernon. It’s not going to be easy.”
But Cagle made it look that way Thursday, overpowering the Brock hitters. She struck out the side in the first, third and fourth innings. She needed just 11 pitches to record the three punchouts in the third.
“Sixteen strikeouts makes it easy on us,” Ramsey said. “She definitely had them guessing tonight.”
Brock put only one ball in play the first time through the lineup. On the night, Brock had only five baserunners - three on errors, one on a hit by pitch and Smith’s single. Shambry Sanders, who reached on a catcher’s interference in the sixth, was the lone Brock player to get to second base.
Pilot Point gave Cagle all the runs she would need in the first inning. Natalie Larson led off the game by reaching on an error. The Pilot Point leadoff hitter came around to score on a wild pitch to make it 1-0 in the top of the first.
Pilot Point added two more in the top of the second with a rally started by the bottom of the order. After Lori Campbell led off with a single, Kalyn Salsman walked. Mallory Ramsey then reached on a fielder’s choice.
The hot-hitting Natalie Larson, who went 3-for-4 and reached base all four times, drove in Brittany Beckett, who came on to run for Salsman, to make it 2-0.
“I was confident and it seemed [Brock pitcher Krysten Marr] wasn’t up and I took advantage of it,” Larson said.
Ramsey said Larson has been the catalyst for the Lady Cats offense in the playoffs.
“She’s been on fire,” he said. “She’s hitting the ball as well as anyone. She’s doing exactly what you want from the leadoff spot.”
Pilot Point added a third run as Mallory Ramsey scored on a wild pitch.
The Pilot Point lead stayed at 3-0 as the Lady Cats failed to capitalize with runners in scoring position later in the second and also in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Pilot Point stranded seven runners at second or third base.
“We left some runs out there,” Ramsey said.
Pilot Point finally got an additional insurance run in the sixth with Cagle beating out a throw to first for an infield single that scored Mallory Ramsey, making it 4-0.
It was more than enough for Cagle to get the Lady Cats a win away from Austin.