Victories have been hard to come by for the Bryan and Pflugerville Weiss softball teams this season, which was reflected in Wednesday afternoon’s hard-fought District 12-6A battle.
Weiss capped a wild 24 hours by eking out a 7-6 victory at Lady Viking Field on an unusual game-ending double play.
Bryan popped up with runners on first and second and one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. The umpires signaled infield fly rule, meaning the batter was out if the ball was fair with the runners free to advance at their own risk. Weiss’ third baseman failed to make the catch, but the ball landed fair for the inning’s second out, and Weiss threw out the runner trying to advance to third, giving last-place Lady Wolves (7-9, 1-3) their first district victory.
A day earlier, Weiss deemed its field unplayable around third base and was forced to move its game against Copperas Cove to Georgetown East View. The Lady Wolves dropped a 6-5 decision in 11 innings.
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Weiss, surprisingly, jumped on Bryan (4-13, 1-2) for four runs in the first inning with two doubles, a single and two hit batters.
“I’m definitely very proud of the way they came out,” Weiss coach Chelsie Carter said. “We didn’t get done until really late last night. I’m glad they came ready to fight, because we knew this was going to be tough.”
Bryan, coming off a 9-5 loss at Copperas Cove on Friday, had a bye Tuesday while everyone else in the seven-team district played. That extra rest didn’t turn out to be an advantage.
“We didn’t really show up to play in that first inning,” first-year Bryan coach Melissa Campbell said. “It’s something that we talk about all the time, about being ready to go right out of the gate.”
Bryan, which was hitless through two innings, perked up after an animated Carter talked to her team in front of the dugout between innings.
The Lady Vikings responded with two runs in the third and three more in the fourth for a 5-4 lead. Sophomore Grace Tausch and senior Maci Ramirez had singles in the third after senior Martha Alvarado reached on an error.
Bryan added four hits in the fourth with senior Brooke Scott leading off with a hit. Senior Makayla Marquez and Alvarado had back-to-back bunt hits to tie the game and chase Weiss starting pitcher Riley Impson. Tausch greeted relief pitcher Jordynn Booe with a single then teamed up with Alvarado for a double steal that gave Bryan the lead.
“I had a pretty lively discussion with them, and they responded, which is what I needed them to do,” Campbell said. “But at the end, we just had to finish, and we couldn’t today.”
Weiss regained the lead with three runs in the sixth. The Lady Wolves used a trio of bunts to score two runs, then added an insurance run thanks to back-to-back singles by junior Abbigale Miller and sophomore Madison Park. The Lady Vikings had chances to get outs on two of the bunts.
Bryan put itself in position to regain the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Marquez had a one-out bunt single, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Alvarado hit an RBI single to cut Weiss’ lead to 7-6, and things looked up for Bryan as Tausch and senior Faith Eppers both walked on full-count pitches to load the bases. But Booe, a freshman right-hander, got out of the jam with a popup and strikeout.
Impson, a sophomore, faced 19 batters and didn’t record a strikeout, while Booe faced 17 and struck out five. Booe pitched late into Tuesday’s game, throwing more than 150 pitches. She wanted to start against Bryan, but Carter went with Impson, who closed the Copperas Cove game Tuesday.
Weiss, gunning for a fourth straight playoff trip, now has one district victory to match Bryan, Temple and Hutto.
“This was big,” Carter said. “Playing Cove last night, knowing they beat Bryan and us losing to Temple and knowing Bryan beat Temple ... looking at this in the first half [of district play], it’s kind of been a maze to figure out where everyone truly fits.”
Campbell said she liked the way Alvarado bounced back from a rough first inning to strike out five with no walks.
“Our defense was a little shaky at some places, but we only had three errors for the night,” Campbell said. “Unfortunately those errors cost us big.”
NOTES — Ninth-ranked Waco Midway (16-2-2, 3-0), Copperas Cove (13-6-2, 2-0) and Harker Heights (14-5-1, 2-1) lead the district. ... Tony Morton, who has announced Bryan ISD athletic events for three decades including Lady Viking softball, was on the microphone Wednesday on his 70th birthday.
Weiss 7, Bryan 6
Riley Impson, Jordynn Booe (4) and Tatzeanna Rector; Martha Alvarado and Teegan Smith.
W — Booe. L — Alvarado.
Leading hitters — WEISS: Madison Park 2-4, 2 RBIs; Khristan Curry 2-4, RBI; Booe 2-5, 2B. BRYAN — Alvarado 2-3, 2 RBIs; Grace Tausch 2-3; Makayla Marquez 2-4
Records: Weiss (7-9, 1-3); Bryan (4-13, 1-2)