Early in Friday’s game between two of the top three teams in District 7-5A, it looked as if Guyer’s defensive deficiencies would doom the Lady Wildcats.
In the later innings, the tables turned and district-leading Keller had some big defensive miscues that put Guyer back in the game. But in the end the Lady Wildcats’ seven errors were too much to overcome as Keller defeated Guyer 11-7 and killed any chance Guyer had at the district championship with two games remaining in the regular season.
Guyer head coach Keith Medford, who watched his team commit the most errors in the program’s history, was at a loss for words following the game.
“It’s hard to put into words,” Medford said. “Anytime you make seven errors against Keller, you’re going to lose the game. Anytime you make seven errors against anyone, you’re going to lose the game. We know that.”
The troubles for Guyer (17-8-1, 8-4 district) started early on, as Keller’s speedy leadoff hitter Autumn Suydam bunted for a base hit, stole second base and scored on a bunt from Texas A&M signee April Ryan. Two hitters later, Ryan scored on a single from Kristin Watkins to give Keller a 2-0 lead.
In the second inning, things started tumbling downhill for Guyer as a throwing error on a Tori Charters bunt attempt led to two runs, and she scored on a Ryan double.
In the fifth inning, Keller (19-5, 11-1) scored two more runs on three Guyer errors as Suydam and Charters both reached base after botched throws.
“Their speed has a lot to do with it,” Medford said of Keller’s Nos. 1 and 2 hitters. “They put a lot of pressure on you. Those top two kids are tough outs. You’ve got to make routine plays. When you’re lucky enough to have one of those kids hit it right at you, you’ve got to get them out, and we didn’t do that.”
Keller head coach Lindsay Strong, who helped start Guyer’s program as Medford’s varsity assistant before taking the Keller job, said the speed and pressure game is what her team thrives on, making its living on station-to-station softball and lots of bunting.
“That’s what we preach to them in practice — run as hard as you can all the time,” Strong said. “That’s what they did tonight — force errors because they can fly. It’s kind of fun.”
But with an 8-2 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, the tables turned on the Lady Indians.
Keller committed two errors in the frame that helped Guyer score five runs and be one play away from tying the game.
Alicia Weber and Megan Washam had RBI hits, and then Kylie Miyata hit a one-out grounder to second base with runners on second and third.
The throw to first sailed high and into Guyer’s dugout, allowing each base runner to advance two bases, putting Miyata at second base and plating Weber and Washam to pull Guyer within 8-7.
Two batters later, sophomore Stephanie Otto hit a sharp grounder up the middle that was knocked down by Keller’s second baseman, in the direction of shortstop April Ryan.
Ryan picked up the ball and fired home to catcher Katie Laws, beating Miyata to the plate as the Guyer second baseman collided with Laws and was tagged out.
The momentum of Guyer’s five-run inning quickly was killed, however, when another error put Charters on base to start the seventh inning before the Lady Indians would go on to score three insurance runs on just one hit.
“We were one run away; the shortstop made a great play on that hit,” Medford said of Otto’s grounder. “We were one run down and then we come out and make an error on the first batter. You cannot do that — you just can’t. We did that tonight. I don’t really have an explanation for it.”
Guyer left 11 runners stranded on base to add salt to the wound of the seven-error night.
“We didn’t do a whole lot of things right tonight,” Medford said. “We left too many people on base. We didn’t make routine plays and we gave up a lot of hits.”
With games remaining against Keller Fossil Ridge and Southlake Carroll, Guyer will now be focused on trying to catch second-place Keller Central and avoid a first-round playoff matchup with powerhouses Plano and Plano East out of District 8-5A.
Guyer is a game up on Carroll and Coppell, who are tied for fourth place.
“District champions don’t do what we did tonight,” Medford said. “They don’t just completely crumble like we did. We’ve got to bounce back, though. It’s just one game. It ruins our chances at a district championship, but now we want to just get in and make a run in the playoffs.”