FRISCO — For a brief moment, everything seemed to be going Krum’s way Thursday night in Game 1 of the Lady Bobcats’ Class 3A area playoff series against Princeton.
Pitcher Kaycee Koiner had allowed just one hit in two innings and Kaely Whatley had belted a grand slam to give the Lady Bobcats an early 4-1 lead.
But the situation changed dramatically and quickly.
The Lady Panthers, who outscored Roosevelt 30-0 in their one-game bi-district playoff, erupted for 16 runs on their way to a 17-4 win over Krum in a five-inning game.
Game 2 is at 7 tonight back at Jeri Cotton Field in Frisco. Game 3, if needed, is set for 2 p.m. Saturday.
The winner between Krum (19-14) and Princeton (22-7) advances to the regional quarterfinals against the winner of the Celina-Ferris series.
“We knew they were good hitters,” Krum coach Stacey Lucas said. “They’ve scored double digits in almost all their games. We tried to pitch around them, but it was an awfully tight strike zone. Then we swung at bad pitches. We’re a young team, but we’ll be back. [Today] will be a better day.”
Princeton went up 1-0 in the top of the first when Kaylee Strickland drew a leadoff walk, advanced to third on a bunt when no one was covering third, and scored on Ali Saldivar’s groundout.
Krum, in the playoffs for the first time in 15 years, came right back on Whatley’s big hit. Rosa Rodriguez and Ashley Landry led off with back-to-back singles, and Mailey Harris reached on an error to load the bases. Whatley then lifted a 1-2 pitch over the left field fence, giving Krum a 4-1 lead.
Princeton’s freshman starter Katy Wilson then gave up a one-out single and was relieved by Rachel Solis.
Krum’s lead was short-lived, as Princeton tagged Krum for 10 runs in the third to open an 11-4 lead, taking advantage of an RBI triple by Abby James, three RBIs by Makayla Smith (in two at-bats), an RBI single by Solis, two errors, four walks and two passed balls that allowed runners to score.
The Lady Panthers sent 13 batters to the plate in the inning. If a couple of close plays had gone the other way, Krum could have gotten out of the inning having allowed only four runs.
“We make those two plays [misplays at third and first] and we’re out of the inning.” Lucas said.
But the night belonged to Princeton, which has averaged 11 runs per game. The Lady Panthers continued their assault in the fourth. Shelby Cook doubled to drive in a run, and Strickland hit a three-run home run as part of a six-run rally to push the Princeton lead to 17-4.
“We’ve been able to hit the ball and score runs all season,” Princeton coach Jason Milligan said. “We’ve also given up a lot of runs, but we did hit the ball well tonight.”
Princeton 17, Krum 4
W — Rachel Solis. L — Kaycee Koiner. HR — P: Kaylee Strickland, K: Kaely Whatley. 3B — P: Abby James. 2B — P: Ali Saldivar, Makayla Smith, Lindsay Tarby, Shelbi Cook.