PROSPER — Pilot Point appeared as if it was about to pick up right where it left off last season in the opening round of the Class 2A playoffs Thursday.
The Lady Cats had a lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning with their starting pitcher cruising toward a shutout.
That’s when the game — and ultimately the season — unraveled for Pilot Point in a 3-2 loss to Tom Bean in a 2A Region II bi-district playoff at Prosper High School.
The Lady Cats committed three errors in the final inning and saw the winning run cross the plate on a one-out drive down the third-base line that slipped out of Allison Strittmatters’ glove.
Alex Hendry scampered down the line from third to score the game-winning run.
“This has been our problem at the end of the season,” Pilot Point coach James Ramsey said. “We haven’t been hitting the ball well and have let teams hang around. Credit Tom Bean. They capitalized.”
Tom Bean’s rally began when Sarah Henderson slapped a hard grounder to second baseman Marissa Morris, who knocked it down. Morris had time to throw Henderson out, but a high throw pulled Abby Parrent off the bag.
Caroline Henderson followed with an RBI double to center.
Pilot Point pitcher Preslee Gallaway bounced back with a strikeout and appeared as if she would record the second out of the inning when Hendry hit a grounder to shortstop Mercedez Lane. A low throw allowed Hendry not only to reach base but to motor around to third.
Gallaway intentionally walked the next two hitters to load the bases.
Pilot Point (24-6) brought its outfield in, looking to cut down Hendry at the plate, but saw its season come to an end when Ramie Byers lined a ball down the line that Stittmatter couldn’t hang on to.
“It’s disappointing,” Ramsey said. “You put so much into it and work so hard and come up short. We understand that it is hard to win in the playoffs.”
Pilot Point appeared to be on its way to doing just that when it grabbed a 1-0 lead when Lane walked and came around to score when Tom Bean left fielder Lauren Khoury dropped Strittmatter’s high drive in the first.
The Lady Cats tacked on a run in the sixth inning when Galloway drove a ball to the center field wall for a long RBI single that scored Natalie Larson, who had reached on a single.
With Gallaway cruising, it appeared as if Pilot Point would begin another run at a state title. A few late breakdowns prevented that from happening.
“Preslee pitched a good game,” Ramsey said. “We just didn’t hit the ball and our defense broke down.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 or via Twitter at @brettvito.
Tom Bean 3, Pilot Point 2
Presley Galloway and Xena Barbour. Annie Bailey and Sarah Henderson. WP — Bailey. LP — Galloway. 2B — Tom Bean: Carolina Henderson, Pilot Point: Barbour