PILOT POINT — The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for Haley Evans and Skylar Cagle on Friday night.
The two Pilot Point seniors squared up pitches by Gunter’s Katlyn Holmes and deposited them into the parking lot beyond the left field fence.
They smacked their home runs in consecutive at-bats in the bottom of the third to break a scoreless tie and lead the Lady Cats to an 8-3 win in a showdown of District 12-2A unbeatens.
“Back-to-back home runs rarely happen, so I was glad I got to share it with Haley,” said Cagle, who doubled as Friday’s winning pitcher, taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning, when Pilot Point led 5-0.
Pilot Point (23-1-1) has lost only to Class 5A San Antonio Southwest and is No. 1 in the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s 2A poll. The Lady Cats and Gunter’s Tigers (13-7) both carried 4-0 district records into Friday night’s frigid affair.
“A couple of home runs will really get the momentum going,” Pilot Point coach James Ramsey said. “But [Gunter] has a good team and we know the next time we play them it’ll be tougher.”
Holmes, the losing pitcher, allowed 10 hits against eight strikeouts, but only five of the Lady Cat runs were earned, as Gunter’s defense unraveled with six errors.
The Tiger pitcher had worked out of a two-on, two-out jam in the bottom of the second with a strikeout. But the goose eggs on the scoreboard ceased after Pilot Point’s Sierra Brooks reached on a one-out error in the third.
Evans, who had worked with a private hitting coach one day earlier, turned around Holmes’ 1-2 pitch, sending it high and deep down the left field line. The only question was whether it would stay fair. It did, putting the Lady Cats up 2-0.
“It was low and inside. I don’t know if it was a screwball or a curve,” Evans said of her first homer of the season. “I knew it [was gone]. I was excited.”
Cagle, batting next, took a first-pitch ball before sending her fourth homer to left-center field. It hit the top of the orange tape atop the 190-foot fence before joining the parked cars.
While Pilot Point’s Nos. 2-5 hitters — Evans, Cagle, Preslee Gallaway and Allison Strittmatter — each had two hits, Brooks made her fourth-inning triple to deep right field good for two RBIs. Brooks, who had three stolen bases in the game, made it 5-0 after four innings.
Cagle gave up six hits while striking out eight. All three runs were earned, as the Lady Cats played spotless defense.
Christy Watson, who led Gunter with a 2-for-3 night, broke up Cagle’s no-hitter with a single to right to open the fifth, then scored on Eva Watson’s two-out single.
After consecutive singles by Cagle, Gallaway and Strittmatter made it 7-1 after five frames, Gunter scored twice in the sixth to cut the Lady Cat lead to 7-3. Holmes started the rally when she slugged a two-out solo homer.
“They’re a good-hitting team,” Cagle said of the Tigers. “I think we just got rattled for a bit.”
Brooks reached on an error and scored on another misplay for Pilot Point’s final run in the sixth.
The Lady Cats wrap up the first-round of 12-2A play when they travel to Farmersville on Tuesday.
PILOT POINT 8, GUNTER 3
WP — Skylar Cagle. LP — Katlyn Holmes. HR — Katlyn Holmes, Gunter; Haley Evans, Skylar Cagle, Pilot Point; 3B — Sierra Brooks, Pilot Point.