Shortly after the contest began, there was little doubt about the eventual outcome.
In a Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 2 District 4 Softball Tournament game Monday at Mansfield, second-seeded Houston scored 14 runs in the bottom of the first inning on the way to a 20-5 run-rule shortened victory over No. 7 Thayer in the first round of the 8-team event.
The Lady Tigers batted around twice in the decisive early outburst, which included 7 hits, 6 walks, 3 errors and 4 wild pitches. The big blow came with 1 out and score at 11-1, as junior first baseman Mackenzie Bryan belted a towering 2-run home run to left-center field.
The Lady Bobcats actually took a 1-0 lead in the top of the frame, scoring without the benefit of a hit on a walk and a trio of wild pitches.
After Houston sophomore Kelsey Pritchett settled in during the top of the second inning and struck out the side in order, the Lady Tigers added 6 runs in the bottom of the frame to hold a 20-1 advantage. Senior third baseman Mali Brookshire delivered a 2-run triple during the rally.
The Lady Bobcats showed some life in the top of the third inning, scoring 4 runs on 1 hit, 4 walks, a hit batter and an error. The game ended on a comebacker to HHS senior Hannah Dzurick, who was in the pitcher’s circle for the final two outs.
Pritchett gave up only 1 earned run and didn’t allow a hit in 2 1/3 innings of work, while striking out 6 and issuing 5 walks. She also went 3-for-3 at the plate and drove in 2 runs.
Brookshire also had a multi-hit outing, going 2-for-2 with a walk, 3 RBIs and 3 runs scored.
Senior Abbigayle Rouse did the pitching for Thayer (3-12), allowing 7 earned runs on 10 hits, while striking out 1 and issuing 10 free passes.
Lady Bobcats fielders committed 7 errors in the contest, while the Lady Tigers had only 1.
With the win, Houston (16-5 through Monday) advanced to face third-seeded Mansfield in Tuesday’s semifinals, after the host Lady Lions downed No. 6 Liberty, 12-5.
The district championship game will be played Wednesday (May 11).
CLASS 2 DISTRICT 4 FIRST ROUND SCORES
Ava (1) 15, Licking (8) 0
Houston (2) 20, Thayer (7) 5
Mansfield (3) 12, Liberty (6) 5
Mountain Grove (4) 3, Cabool (5) 2
To view photo gallery from the Lady Tigers’ district tournament game against Thayer (with the option to purchase photos), click here.