The Brock Lady Eagles head into game two of their Class 3A regional final series with the Bushland Lady Falcons in unfamiliar territory.
After dominating each of its first four postseason opponents (Bowie, Early, Henrietta and Slaton), Brock found itself on the receiving end of a 7-4 loss to Bushland Wednesday afternoon at Iowa Park High School, the former’s first 2019 postseason loss.
That being said, Bushland’s win likely came with mixed feelings for the winning team, which trailed Brock in a number of categories.
The Lady Falcons lagged behind the Lady Eagles in hits, 9-2, yet Bushland remained patient at the plate, taking advantage of 13 walks, two of which (with bases loaded) went for scores.
Two Brock fielding errors (one in the top of the first and one in the top of the third) directly contributed to another three Lady Falcon scores.
Of Bushland’s seven runs, only one came from a hit, an RBI single in the top of the first (while a sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh added another score).
Brock’s own offensive production was there, however the team struggled to capitalize with runners on (the Lady Eagles left 10 runners on base while Bushland stranded nine runners itself).
Payton Gasca, Landry Felts and Lauren Kizer each collected two hits for Brock.
Hailey Blankenship, Jessica Leek and Maddie Murley each added one hit for the Lady Eagles.
The walks notwithstanding, Brock starting pitcher Lauren Kizer still managed four strikeouts, compared to zero by Bushland starter Hally Lytal.
The Lady Falcons never trailed, scoring in the first (two runs), third (two runs), fifth (one run) and seventh (two runs) innings.
The Lady Eagles also scored in four total innings, putting up one run in each of the first, third, sixth and seventh innings.
Ultimately, Bushland heads into game two having put the pressure on Brock, even if the former’s game one win unfolded in a far from dominant manner.
At the same time, while the Lady Eagles have not entered a game two this postseason trailing in the series, the team owns extensive postseason experience.
While it was not enough to secure the win Wednesday, Brock hardly looked like a squad out of its league.
A few extra plays (plays the Lady Eagles have made time and again this season) in one or two innings, and Brock would likely be heading into Saturday up in the series.
Lady Eagles' Head Coach Ryan Starnes said it is important for Brock to not overthink the game one loss, but instead focus the team's energy on Saturday's rematch.
"The message to our kids was just to keep things in perspective," Starnes said.
"Our kids felt like we didn't play our best but still had chances to win. We talked about the beauty of a series being that it is first to win two games, the order you get there doesn't matter.
"We don't want to go to Iowa Park tomorrow thinking about too much, we just want to go out and play like we are capable of in game two."
Game two starts at 4 p.m. Saturday at Iowa Park HS, with game three (if needed) beginning afterwards.