BELTON — Salado’s Malory Schattle stepped into the batter’s box in the bottom of the fourth inning on Saturday at Belton High School. The Lady Eagles of Salado held a slim 3-2 lead against Bruceville-Eddy.
There were two outs. Salado had the bases loaded. Schattle — a righty who bats third for the Lady Eagles — looked at three straight off-the-plate balls from B-E’s ace pitcher, Ashley Hoehn.
Schattle, a sophomore, stepped out of the batter’s box and looked at head coach Kory Craddick who was standing in the third-base coaching box.
“Coach didn’t put the take sign on,” Schattle said. “But at 3-and-0, I felt I needed to sit there. If I swing and make an out, it’s not good for the team.”
This was Game 2 of a best-of-three regional quarterfinal series and Salado held a 1-0 advantage by virtue of its Thursday night 7-5 win.
“Malory is a very, very smart player,” Craddick said. “Even with the 3-0 count, if that next ball is piped, she knows what she can do with it. If it’s not her pitch, she can lay off it.”
Then Hoehn painted the corners twice, Schattle took both for called strikes — and the count was 3-2.
“At 3-and-2, I was thinking she had to come in with a strike there,” Schattle said. “There was a huge gap down the right-field line, so I was thinking, ‘Hit the gap, hit the gap.’ And then she threw a ball that was a little outside.”
Schattle swung and … smack!
Schattle hit a laser that went down the right-field line. Two runners scored, Schattle had a standup double and Salado had itself a 5-2 lead.
“Malory came through,” Craddick said.
“We needed that spark. It really helped us.”
“It was a heck of a hit,” said senior teammate Josie Norman. “It went boom! It got us going.”
Bruceville-Eddy scored two runs in the top of the fifth but Salado walked off the field 5-4 victors and advanced to the regional semifinals for the first time in school history.
Schattle had a game-high three RBIs. In Game 1, she had an RBI triple.
“We thought this would be a tough series and it was,” Schattle said. “Bruceville-Eddy is such a good team. But we wanted to win this series so bad because we want to keep moving on — keep making history for our school.”
The Lady Eagles face Woodville in another best-of-three series. All three games will be played at Texas A&M. Game 1 is Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Game 2 is Saturday at 4 p.m. If necessary, Game 3 will follow immediately after.
“We’re working so well together as a complete team,” Schattle said.
“That’s what’s making this playoff run all so special.”
SALADO VS. WOODVILLE
- Game 1 — Thursday, 7:30 p.m., at Texas A&M, College Station
- Game 2 — Saturday, 4 p.m., at Texas A&M, College Station
- Game 3 — (If necessary), Saturday, immediately following Game 2
Tickets — Adults $8, students $5 (Texas A&M will charge $5 for parking Saturday)
Contact Allan Mandell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7566â€‹ and read his blog at KDHPressbox.com