PROSPER — Pilot Point’s Preslee Gallaway didn’t waste any time making her presence known in Game 1 of the Class 2A Region II quarterfinals Friday night against Grandview.
The sophomore shortstop ripped a one-out, three-run home run in the top of the first and later scored after hitting a double in third to help the Lady Cats to a 7-0 victory over the Lady Zebras in the first game of a best-of-three series at Prosper High School.
Skylar Cagle struck out seven and allowed three hits for Pilot Point, ranked No. 1 in the Texas Girls Coaches Association state poll.
The Lady Cats (33-2-1), one win away from advancing to the regional finals, take on Grandview (27-8) again at 2 p.m. today at Prosper, with Game 3, if needed, to follow. The winner faces either New Boston or Commerce in the next round. New Boston is ranked No. 9 in the state.
Gallaway finished 3-for-4 at the plate with three RBI, Lori Campbell had three hits, and Natalie Larson had two hits for the Lady Cats, who finished with 12 hits against Lady Zebras pitcher Kalani Basham.
Pilot Point, the winners of District 12-2A, scored quickly in the top of the first. Larson singled to right on the first pitch of the game. Haley Evans followed with a sacrifice bunt, but Basham was called for an illegal pitch. Larson advanced to second and Evans eventually walked. With one out, Gallaway lifted the first pitch from Basham over the left-field fence for a three-run homer.
“The last playoff game I was struggling at the plate,” Gallaway said. “I wanted to get my mojo back in a bad way. I just wanted to crush the ball. Against at pitcher like [Basham], you’ve got to take advantage of anything she puts over the plate.
“Natalie getting that first hit really got us going. We know we have to come out [today] and hit the ball hard and keep going at them. We’ve got to keep our defense strong, too.”
The Lady Cats added a run in the second. Lori Campbell reached on an error, advanced to third on a sacrifice and groundout, and scored on Larson's single just over the outstretched glove of Grandview second baseman Courtney Chambers.
Grandview runners reached second base twice in the second inning. Brittney Tschoepe led off with a double to left but was thrown out at third by Cagle on a fielder’s choice. With two outs, Kourtney Cummings stole second, but was stranded when Lexi Meadows struck out. The Lady Cats settled in defensively after Cummings reached on the fielder’s choice, retiring eight in a row, including four by Cagle strikeouts.
Pilot Point increased its lead to 5-0 in the third. Gallaway ripped a one-out double off the left-center wall and Allison Strittmatter followed with an RBI double off the right-center wall.
The Lady Cats increased their lead to 6-0 in the fifth. Cagle reached on an infield single and with one out, Strittmatter reached on an error. With two outs, Lori Campbell dropped a single into shallow right field, scoring courtesy runner Brittney Beckett.
Grandview, the winner of District 10-2A, had its best opportunity to score in the fifth. Cummings singled and was forced at second on a fielder's choice. Meadows reached on an infield single and Alexis Wheeler walked to load the bases. But Cagle struck out Lauren Starr and Basham popped up to the second baseman to end the inning.
“We get behind from the get-go and then we don’t take advantage of some scoring opportunities,” said Grandview coach Tim Jackson. “You can't do that against a pitcher like Skylar and a team like that.”
Pilot Point made it 7-0 in the sixth when Sierra Brooks singled and eventually scored on a fielder's choice.
Pilot Point 7, Grandview 0
WP — Skyler Cagle. LP — Kalani Basham. HR — Pilot Point: Preslee Gallaway. Records: Pilot Point (33-2-1), Grandview (27-8).
High school softball
Pilot Point 7, Grandview 0