PROSPER — Skylar Cagle has been as close to a sure bet as one can imagine for Pilot Point this season.
The senior pitcher hadn’t lost a game all year heading into the Lady Cats’ Region II-2A quarterfinal series against Grandview.
And yet, Cagle could feel the pressure building right up until she threw her first pitch on Saturday, even after Pilot Point won the first game of the series the night before.
“The pressure gets way bigger in the playoffs,” Cagle said. “I got nervous on the ride up here and during the national anthem. It gets a little better once the game starts.”
So does Cagle.
Pilot Point’s top starter turned in her second dominating performance in the series, giving up just two hits in the Lady Cats’ 5-1 win.
Pilot Point, which is ranked No. 1 in the Texas Girls Coaches Association Class 2A poll, swept the series and advances to face Commerce. The teams are scheduled to play a three-game regional semifinal series that will begin with a doubleheader on Friday with a game to follow on Saturday, if necessary, at a time and site that have yet to be determined.
The Lady Cats lost in the regional semifinals last season.
“Hopefully that is the next step,” Pilot Point coach James Ramsey said. “The kids are playing really well. We just have to keep working and keep things going.”
Cagle helped Pilot Point (34-2-1) continue to build on the momentum it has established over the last few weeks against the Lady Zebras. Grandview (27-9) scored in the top of the first inning, but was shut out the rest of the way.
Pilot Point didn’t commit an error on the day and finished with just one in the series. The Lady Cats won the opening game 7-0 behind Cagle’s three-hit shutout.
“I kept them off balance, and my defense was great behind me,” Cagle said. “It worked out great.”
The Lady Cats made sure Cagle’s performance wouldn’t go to waste while posting six hits and two key rallies in the final game of the series.
Pilot Point scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning and essentially put the game away by scoring three runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Allison Strittmatter sparked the Lady Cats’ attack, going 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Kalyn Salsman and Lori Campbell also drove in runs for Pilot Point.
“Allison was locked in today at the plate and did a good job hitting the ball,” Ramsey said.
Strittmatter helped give Cagle a lead with which to work.
Pilot Point was well on its way to the regional semifinals at that point.
“Anytime you have Skylar in the circle it definitely helps,” Ramsey said. “You know she is going to keep you in games. When you can get a few runs, you feel good with her out there.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 or via Twitter at @brettvito.
Pilot Point 5, Grandview 1
WP — Skylar Cagle. LP — Kalani Basham. 2B — G: Brittney Tschoepe, PP: Allison Strittmatter. Records – Pilot Point 34-2-1, Grandview 27-9.