BOWIE — Presli Procter turned the game around.
Despite leading 2-0 through four innings, No. 9 Lampasas was struggling to score. Base runners were being stranded, hits were sporadic and nervousness began creeping into the Lady Badgers’ dugout.
Then, Procter delivered a home run to center field, calming the anxiety and triggering an offensive onslaught as Lampasas cruised to an 8-0 victory against No. 8 Pampa in the opening game of the Region I-3A semifinal series.
After the game, Lampasas head coach Cassie Crabtree said Procter’s hit completely changed the complexion of the game.
“The kids all thought, ‘Well, if Presli can hit it out, then we can hit it,’” Crabtree said. “That was a huge momentum changer. Then, people just started putting it in play and good things happened.”
Although the bats came alive late as the Lady Badgers (26-8) accounted for seven of their 12 hits in the fifth and sixth innings, Lampasas survived on the Lady Harvesters’ mistakes early in the contest.
First, Pampa pitcher Alexa O’Brien hit Lady Badgers junior Blake Webb with the bases loaded in the second inning, sending Kloe Corbin across home plate for the game’s first run. Two innings later, O’Brien walked Corbin with the bases loaded, increasing the Lady Badgers’ lead to 2-0.
The score held through the bottom of the fourth inning, setting the stage for Lampasas’ designated hitter to kick start the offense with her second playoff home run.
“I kept dropping my hands, and coach told me to relax and just hit,” the freshman said. “So I did, and it worked.”
In addition to providing a little extra cushion on the scoreboard, Procter gave her team a much-needed confidence boost.
“Everyone was really tense in the very beginning,” Webb said. “But when Presli had that home run, we were like, ‘OK, we can hit off their pitcher.’ I could feel the mood change.”
Lampasas pushed its lead to 4-0 before the end of the inning as Megan Sitter followed Procter with a single before being sent home on teammate Blakeli Brookreson’s hit.
Then, in the fifth inning, the Lady Badgers put the game completely out of reach, scoring four runs on four hits. Webb capped off the surge with a two-RBI double.
“I struck out in the previous at-bat swinging at a high pitch,” the centerfielder said. “So I was just telling myself, ‘If it is a good pitch, just go for it.’ Luckily, I hit the ball.”
Brookreson went 3 for 5 in the game to lead the Lady Badgers, while teammates Alex Caruthers, Sittner and Webb finished with two hits apiece.
Led by Brittney Gonzalez and Cameron Schaub, who each produced two hits, Pampa (31-8) recorded seven hits in the game, but only two Lady Harvesters reached third base.
Game 2 of will be played today at noon with Game 3, if necessary, to follow. The winner of the series advances to play the winner between No. 2 Liberty Hill and No. 4 Snyder in the regional finals — a round Lampasas has never reached in program history. Snyder won the series opener Friday evening, 2-0.
In order to advance, however, Crabtree believes her team needs to simply maintain its focus.
“We just need to keep doing the same thing,” she said.
“The only difference is we have to cut down on our strikeouts after finishing with 13, and defensively, we need to stay hot.”