Softball: Pilot Point pitcher pounds Ponder in playoff shutout

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Pilot Point sophomore Natalie Larson, right, arrives safely at second as Ponder senior Carley Moore applies a tag Friday in Denton.
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Cagle’s lucky 13

Skylar Cagle took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and finished with 13 strikeouts to lead Pilot Point to a 5-0 victory Friday night over Ponder in a Class 2A area round game at Bronco Field.

Cagle finished with a two-hitter, but head coach James Ramsey knows Cagle will have to raise her game even higher if the Lady Cats (32-2-1) want to make it further in the postseason than last season’s march to the regional semifinals.

“She is very competitive and driven, but if she’s able to get in front of the hitters and she’s on, she’s tough to beat,” Ramsey said. “She hasn’t been beaten this year yet. There’s no doubt about it, that if we are going to get where we want to go, that she’s got to pitch even better.”

Natalie Larson provided most of the offense for Pilot Point, finishing 3-for-3 with two RBIs.

Cagle, the Northwestern State University commit, had a torrid strikeout pace to start, as she had two in each of the first five innings before Jessica Orozco broke up the no-hitter with a sixth-inning single.

“She’s got a good off-speed changeup that caught us off guard, and when you get down, you just want to hit the ball,” said Ponder head coach Paige Wells, whose team finished 19-9. “We didn’t stay disciplined at the plate, and when you get down, it’s hard to do that sometimes.”

Andie Beer singled to start the seventh for Ponder, but Cagle ended the game with two strikeouts.

Pilot Point’s offense put up five runs on 11 hits, with leadoff hitter Larson’s two RBIs and triple headlining the Lady Cats’ attack. Ramsey hopes their offense gets going a little more in the regional quarterfinals, where they will face either Grandview or Whitewright.

“As a team we are going to have to play better, but we know that,” Ramsey said. “But this time of year, you just try to win and advance to the next round.”

Preslee Gallaway’s RBI double in the first scored Larson, who led off with a walk, to give Pilot Point a 1-0 lead. Larson’s first RBI single gave the Lady Cats a 2-0 lead in the second inning. In the fourth, Sierra Brooks doubled home Kalyn Salsman and Larson drove in a run to make it 4-0, while Allison Strittmatter added an RBI single in the fifth inning.

PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.

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