— By GREG WEBB
FORT WORTH — Up a game after Thursday’s 10-2 win in the best-of-three Class 4A Region I softball championship series, Aledo took the sting out of Azle’s Lady Hornets early on Friday in Game 2. Scoring four runs in the opening frame and adding nine more plate crossings in the next two frames, the Ladycats put a rapid run-rule end to the series with a 14-4 regional title clincher.
While Aledo’s bats and aggressive base running were enough to contend with, banging out six doubles in the game, Azle’s young squad also succumbed to the pressure of the state-qualifying series, committing 10 errors in the two contests against the Ladycats.
Aledo head coach Jeff Lemons, still drenched from the water-bucket assault a few of the Ladycats successfully executed, was visibly and understandably pleased.
“I’m breathing a lot easier right now,” he said. “There were a lot of expectations, but it’s incredibly hard to get [back to the state tournament]. I don’t care how much talent you have coming back, it’s incredibly hard.”
Lemons expressed his admiration of the teams’ focus on the tasks at hand, especially with all of the other springtime distractions of prom, testing, graduation, et al.
The Ladycats showed little distraction at the plate in the series, totalling 21 hits and 24 runs.
On Friday, four Aledo hitters had multiple RBIs, with Chickie Cook leading the way with three. Both Allie Ramsey hits were doubles.
While run production was not an issue for the Ladycats, neither was the defense — nor the pitching.
Lauren Craine issued just a single walk in her five innings of work on Friday, letting the defense behind her to take care of business. The Ladycats had no errors in the two contests.
“We’re happy that we have a Saturday off for the first time in a good while,” Lemons said. “So, we’ll have the weekend to relax and enjoy this, and get back to work on Monday.