Strength in all three main phases of the game has lifted the Houston High School softball team to success on numerous occasions this season.

The Lady Tigers did it again Tuesday, employing high quality offense, defense and pitching to defeat host Mansfield 11-1 in a Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 2 District 4 Softball semifinal contest.

With the run-rule shortened, six-inning victory, the second-seeded Lady Tigers avenged a 4-2 loss to the No. 3 Lady Lions April 5 at Carter Field.

Houston had 14 hits in the game (including 7 doubles and 2 triples) and stole 10 bases. After leaving 12 runners on base in the first matchup with Mansfield, the Lady Tigers stranded only 6 this time.

HHS junior Aliyah Walker delivers a pitch during the Lady Tigers’ win over Mansfield in a district tournament semifinal game Tuesday at Mansfield.

Leading 6-1, Houston scored 4 big runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. The rally began when junior Madi Reed led off with a line single to left field. A barrage of run-scoring extra-base hits followed, as sophomore Kelsey Pritchett doubled to deep center field, junior Aliyah Walker tripled to left, junior Karlee Curtis tripled to right and senior Hannah Dzurick doubled to right.

Leading 10-1, the Lady Tigers almost closed out the contest with 1 out in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Reed crushed a ball to deep center field that landed just in front of the fence and she settled for a double. With 2 outs and the bases loaded, Walker spent several minutes at the plate in an at-bat featuring 14 pitches. She knocked a walk-off infield single on the last one, driving in Reed to invoke the 10-run mercy rule.

Walker pitched a complete game for Houston, allowing 5 hits while striking out 4 and walking 3.

After stepping on the bag for a force out, HHS senior third baseman Mali Brookshire prepares to throw to first during the Lady Tigers’ win over Mansfield in a district tournament semifinal game on Tuesday.

Behind her, the Lady Tigers’ infield and outfield constantly came up with key plays – including several of the highlight variety – and combined to commit no errors.

Meanwhile, Mansfield senior Madalyn Ivy also went the distance in the pitcher’s circle, but frequently saw hard-hit balls zoom past her in all directions. She also didn’t receive as much help as Walker, as the Lady Lions committed 4 errors in the contest and made other fielding mistakes that didn’t show up in the box score.

Reed, Dzurick and Walker all had 3-hit outings. Reed went 3-for-3 with a walk, a double and 2 runs scored, while Dzurick went 3-for-4 with 2 doubles, 2 RBIs and a run scored, and Walker went 3-for-5 with a triple, a double, 3 RBIs and 2 runs scored.

The Lady Tigers take on top-seeded Ava in the district championship game at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Mansfield.

To view photo gallery from the Lady Tigers’ district tournament game against Mansfield (with the option to purchase photos), click here.

Doug Davison

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Contact him by phone at 417-967-2000 or by email at ddavison@houstonherald.com.

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