BOWIE — Lampasas’ unexpected playoff run is over.
After shocking the state by cruising to the Region I-3A semifinals with relative ease, the No. 9 Lady Badgers suffered through a slump at the worst possible time, losing twice to No. 8 Pampa on Saturday by a combined score of 19-3.
The season-ending 10-0 and 9-3 losses were a stark contrast to Lampasas’ series-opening shutout victory Friday evening, and Lady Badgers head coach Cassie Crabtree credits Pampa for modifying their gameplan.
“Their pitcher was just better than us today and, unfortunately, we didn’t make the adjustments,” she said. “At this point, that’s what you have to do — make adjustments. We didn’t, and the score shows.”
Coming off an eight-win season in 2013, Lampasas rose to No. 4 in state polls before a breakdown during District 8-3A play nearly eliminated it from postseason contention, but the Lady Badgers secured the third seed and proceeded to roll through the first four rounds.
Outside of the area-round series against then-No. 2 Kennedale, the Lady Badgers outscored their postseason opponents 31-5, not including their 8-0 victory against the Lady Harvesters in Game 1.
But almost nothing went Lampasas’ way Saturday, especially after a seven-run outburst by Pampa in the top of the fifth inning of Game 2 allowed the Lady Harvesters to tie the series.
The squads played a scoreless game through four innings before Pampa erupted. With two outs, the Lady Harvesters got six consecutive batters on base as they constructed a 7-0 lead on eight hits.
Then, Pampa added three more runs in the following inning, clinching the 10-0 run-rule victory in six innings after Lampasas was unable to answer.
From there, things only got worse for the Lady Badgers.
Pampa (33-8) recorded a pair of runs in each of the first two innings of Game 3, extending its advantage to 9-0 after a five-run fourth inning.
Despite Lampasas’ sloppy start, which included eight walks, three hit batters along with multiple passed balls and wild pitches over the first four innings, Crabtree did not believe it was due to a hangover from Game 2.
“You would hope they could put it behind them,” she said. “Pampa led off Game 3 with a triple, and I think that was a big thing, and then they had the momentum back.”
The Lady Badgers (26-10) got on the scoreboard for the first time in the fifth inning as designated player Presli Procter’s single scored teammate Alyssa Maldonado, and one batter later, Megan Sitter’s RBI single trimmed the deficit to seven runs, 9-2.
In the sixth inning, centerfielder Blake Webb scored after senior Alex Caruthers walked with the bases loaded, but Lampasas could not get any closer.
“We just didn’t stick to our gameplan,” Crabtree said, “and we ended up on the wrong end of things.”
Making matters worse for Lampasas, of the 19 runs scored by Pampa, 17 came with two outs. And 20 Lady Badgers were left stranded between the two games.
Although the Lady Badgers lost the series, the young roster comprised of nine underclassmen and only one senior gained valuable experience, according to Crabtree, who believes the postseason run will pay dividends in the future.
“We can take this, learn from it and use it to help us mentally prepare to come back next year,” she said. “Now, we know what we have to work on.”