HURST — For the second day in a row, the Guyer Lady Wildcats simply could not capitalize when they had the opportunity, and for the second year in row their season has ended at the hands of the Aledo Ladycats.
Eighth-ranked Aledo scored five runs over the final three innings to break a 4-all tie on its way to a 9-4 win over Guyer on Saturday, sweeping the best-of-three Class 4A regional quarterfinal series.
The Ladycats (27-4), who reached the state semifinals last year, advance to the regional semifinals against Wolfforth Frenship or Canyon Randall. Guyer finished its season at 27-7.
“Our hats are off to them,” Guyer coach Keith Medford said. “They were the better team today. It was just one of those things — nothing magical about it. They got some timely hits and we didn’t. We put the ball in play at times, but when we had the bases loaded, we couldn’t get that big hit. You have to give them a lot of credit.”
Guyer needed just two outs to close out a win in Game 1 on Friday night, but Aledo rallied for three runs in the top of seventh to beat the Lady Wildcats 5-4. That put the Lady Wildcats in the position of needing to win two games Saturday to extend their season, and they didn’t waste any time scoring, pushing two runs across in the top of the first.
Tara Solomon was safe on a fielder’s choice, Shayne Starkey singled and Alyssa Dixon walked to load the bases. Lauren Lindgren slapped a single to right to score one run, and a second run scored on the play when right fielder Ashton Adkins mishandled the bounce. Guyer still had two runners on with one out, but the inning ended when Tatum Branch hit into a double play.
Aledo, on the other hand, was able to keep its rallies going. The Ladycats got a run back in the bottom half of the first, scoring on a sacrifice fly, and scored three runs in the second to take a 4-2 lead. All three of those runs came with two outs.
Guyer came back in the fourth to tie the score, although the Lady Wildcats could have had more. Lindgren doubled, Branch singled and Stephanie Otto walked to load the bases with no outs. Lauren Craine, Aledo’s ace and winner of Game 1, relieved Tori Gore and walked Sophie Popowski to drive in a run. Avery Williams singled to left to drive in another run, and the Wildcats still had the bases loaded with no outs. The next three batters all hit infield pop flies and the inning ended with three runners stranded.
Aledo would regain the lead in the bottom of the fourth, taking advantage of an error to start the inning, then scoring two runs with two outs.
The Ladycats added a run in the fifth, again scoring with two outs, and closed out the scoring with a pair of runs in the sixth when they chased Starkey, Guyer’s ace.
Guyer, after scoring its two runs in the fourth, would get one runner on base in each of the next three innings, but only one advanced to second. Aledo twice turned two inning-ending double plays.
The Lady Wildcats could not fully take advantage of nine hits and five walks.
Starkey, in the circle with about 15 hours of rest, was not as overpowering, allowing 10 hits and two walks and striking out one. But she was the inspiration for the Lady Wildcats while also delivering two hits. Lindgren was 4-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
“She’s a warrior,” Medford said of Starkey, who finished the season 19-6. “She pitched her guts out. It was hard pulling her out of the game. She didn’t want to come out, because she’s a fighter.”
Guyer is certain to be a contender again next season, losing only two starters in Branch and Otto. The Ladycats also lose just two starters.
“We have a bright future with this group,” Medford said. “We had six playoff games and were up against a top-five team in the state. We gained invaluable experience. I’m disappointed we lost, but I’m super proud of my kids.”
Aledo 9, Guyer 4
W — Lauren Craine. L — Shayne Starkey. 2B—G: Lauren Lindgren; A: Rhylie Makawe.