Two out run scoring singles by Alyssa Contreras and Megan Calfee in fourth inning broke open a closely contested bi-district playoff game between the Atascocita Lady Eagles and the Klein Collins Lady Tigers on Friday night in Atascocita. The Lady Eagles posted an 8-3 win to advance to the next week’s area round of the playoffs against the winner of Stony Point and Bowie.
The District 16-6A champions sent junior right-hander Shelby McGluan to the circle while Klein Collins countered with sophomore hurler Megan Kirchoff. McGluan set down the Lady Tigers 1-2-3 to open the game but Kirchoff wasn’t so fortunate as the Lady Eagles sent eight batters to the plate scoring three times in the first. Centerfielder Morgan Emswiler laced a 3-1 pitch into left field to get the Atascocita offense rolling. Five batters later, a bases loaded walk to Contreras forced Emswiler home with the game’s first run. Calfee drove home two more on the first of her three hits.
“Timely hits, big at bats with two outs, tough pitching, defense stepped up and aggressive baserunning spelled the difference tonight,” said Lady Eagles head coach Ashley Boyd in describing how her team won the bi-district championship.
Atascocita expanded their lead in the second after Tierrah Williams was forced at the plate with the bases loaded, McGluan plated Emswiler with a ground out to the left side.
Trailing 4-0, Klein Collins reached the Eagles starter with a three spot of their own in the third. Brooke Nease drew an inning opening walk and raced home one pitch later as lead-off hitter Demi Janak smacked her first triple of the season into the right fielder corner. The senior shortstop scored on a sacrifice fly from Alexis Farris. Left fielder Alexis Freeman walked following Janak’s triple scored what would prove to be Klein Collins final run of the night on an infield hit from Adriana Farris.
The Lady Tigers continued to put the pressure on the Atascocita loading the bases with no one out in the top of the fourth. Boyd elected to leave McGluan in the circle. The Eagles ace responded by getting Janak to line out sharply at Williams in left, striking out Freeman and inducing Alexis Farris into a groundout to close out the inning unscathed.
“She (McGluan) is a fighter,” said Boyd praising the effort of her starter. “Whenever she has a little bit of adversity, that’s when she is at her best. There’s no way I could pull her out in that kind of situation. The harder it is for her, the more she excels.”
Riding the momentum of the defensive stop, the Lady Eagles offense went to work with two outs against Klein Collins reliever Kymber Green. Singles by Sarah Cedillo and Kaitlyn Washington sandwiched around a walk to McGluan set the stage for Contreras and Calfee’s rbi hits extending the lead to 6-3.
“It was huge, huge,” continued Boyd in talking about the momentum swing in the fourth. “They were a base hit away from tying the game or taking the lead. She (McGluan) stepped up, the defense stepped up. Whenever we a little bit of a momentum shift like that, these girls are really resilient and when we get an opportunity to put a team in the same situation we just survived, they want to outdo them a little bit.”
The Lady Eagles starter set down nine in a row and carried a five run lead into the seventh on the strength of back-to-back sacrifice flies from Williams and Emswiler. Janak drew a lead-off walk and Freeman singled to give the Lady Tigers two on and no outs in the seventh. McGluan bore down two fly outs to centerfield and retiring Kirchoff on strikes to give Atascocita and 8-3 win and a 2015 Bi-District championship.
Atascocita led by Calfee’s three hits and three rbi’s touched up Klein Collins pitching for 13 hits and seven walks. McGluan went the distance in the win, tallying six strikeouts along the way.
“We had clutch hitting tonight,” concluded Boyd. “That’s what this team is so good at. They aren’t worried about hitting the long ball, all they want to do is find a way to score the runner. They do the little things right.”
Janak in her final game for Klein Collins led the way for the Lady Tigers going 1 for three with a walk, two runs scored and an rbi.
Written by Lou Roesch