Guyer head coach Keith Medford had a pretty concrete plan for his pitcher in Friday’s regular-season finale against Wichita Falls Rider.
Shayne Starkey, who battled a case of the flu all week, was set to start the game in the circle if she looked good during warm-ups. She passed that test, and the plan was to let her pitch one time through the lineup before giving way to Lauren Lindgren.
Starkey never gave Medford a chance to take her out of the game, allowing one run on four hits with six strikeouts in the Lady Wildcats’ 11-1 run-rule win over Rider to close out the regular season.
“We were going to let her warm up and see where she was physically — mentally I have no doubts about her, ever,” Medford said. “She looked great before the game. I don’t know if she was telling me the truth, but she said she felt great. She started rolling, so we couldn’t take her out.”
The Lady Wildcats (24-4, 11-3 District 5-4A), ranked No. 26 in the Texas Girls Coaches Association Class 4A state poll, earned the second seed out of District 5-4A with the win and Trophy Club Nelson’s come-from-behind win over Fort Worth Brewer. Guyer will open the postseason next week against either Saginaw Boswell or Saginaw. Those two teams will play Monday night to determine the third seed from District 6-4A. Guyer swept Saginaw in the first round of the playoffs a year ago.
Guyer started slowly on Friday night before getting on the board in the second inning off a two-run double to the left-center field gap from senior first baseman Stephanie Otto, who finished the night 2-for-2 and a hit-by-pitch.
The Lady Wildcats entered the sixth inning with a 6-1 lead but ended the game an inning early via run-rule when Alyssa Dixon hit a two-run double to cap a five-running inning without Rider (5-22, 0-14) recording an out. Dixon and Starkey each finished the night with three RBIs.
“It has nothing to do with status or anything with beating someone that bad, but I want their mentality to be to step on the opponents’ throat, for lack of a better team,” Medford said. “Finish. Make a statement. Don’t just roll through the middle innings and say the game’s over. Step on the gas. I was happy they did that.”
Medford wasn’t totally pleased, as he expressed frustration with some missed signs and missed bunt coverage, but said the mistakes will give him something to work on before the postseason begins.
“Was it a perfect game for us? No,” Medford said. “We have things we can be better at. That gives us something to work on and something to get better at.”
He added he thinks his team is in a good place, especially coming out of a top-heavy district, featuring three state-ranked teams, in second place.
“It might not be the prettiest game all the time, but they find a way to win,” Medford said. “That’s something that’s kind of an ‘it factor.’ Everyone in the playoffs has good pitchers and good hitters and defense. But if you have that ‘it factor’ — and I think we’re close — I think you can go a long way.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.
Guyer 11, Wichita Falls Rider 1 (6)
WP — Shayne Starkey. LP — Jordan Vinson. 2B — R: Kali Garza. G: Stephanie Otto, Alyssa Dixon. Records — Wichita Falls Rider, 5-22, 0-14; Guyer 24-4, 11-3.