SALADO — The Salado Lady Eagles are becoming known for their dramatic come-from-behind series wins.
Last week after losing Game 1 to Caldwell, the Lady Eagles responded by winning consecutive games to take the series, and on Saturday, Salado was at it again.
After losing to Hillsboro 7-6 in eight innings the night before, the Lady Eagles repeated the same feat they did last week.
Needing two wins on a hot Saturday afternoon was going to be no easy task, but behind the pitching of Bailey Tindell, Salado defeated Hillsboro 6-1 and 3-2 to move on to the regional quarterfinals.
“It is very hard to come back in a series after losing the first game,” said Salado head coach Kory Craddick. “Evidently to these girls, it doesn’t mean a whole lot. It’s a young team. They understand they are in the playoffs, but I don’t think they know that when you lose your season is supposed to be over.”
“In Hillsboro on Friday night, we didn’t play well at all. We had too many errors on defense and too man baserunning errors. Today, especially in the first game, we really got after it and played like a team on a mission.”
In the finale, Salado (28-9) entered the last inning clinging to a 3-1 lead but Hillsboro loaded the bases with nobody out after a couple of Salado errors.
The road team scratched across a run on a lineout to Lindy Martin, who made a nice running play to record the first out. Tindell then induced a fielder’s choice for the second out. With two outs and the tying run on third, Raven Balderas popped up to Martin to preserve the victory and send the home crowd to their feet.
After trailing by a run, Salado scored two runs in the third inning to jump ahead and never look back.
With one out, UMHB commit Jenna Calder lined a hard smash to right field for a single, which scored a pair of runs for the 2-1 lead against Hillsboro ace Haley Scott.
The Lady Eagles scratched across another run in the fifth when Chris Wilson hit a rocket past the shortstop for a two-out single, which proved to be the decisive run.
In the victory, Piper Randolph and Wilson each went 2 for 3.
In the circle, Tindell gave her team a brilliant performance. She earned the victory by going all seven innings and striking out three while giving up only four hits.
Earlier in the afternoon, Salado had to win to force Game 3. Offensively, the Lady Eagles picked up 12 hits off Hillsboro (24-13) pitcher Karoline Creech. Tindell started the game and pitched six innings and allowing no runs before Rebecca Dockray closed the door and retired the final three batters.
In the leadoff spot, Randolph had herself quite the game. The speedy freshman finished Game 2 by going a perfect 4 for 4.
“She’s the gas in our engine,” Craddick said. “Whenever she can get on, we can step on that gas pedal and make some things happen, especially on the basepaths.”
Breigh Oliver drove in four and went 3 for 4.
While only having two seniors on the roster, Craddick said the upperclassmen have become leaders and that allows everyone to have confidence.
“To still be playing in the second week of May is enjoyable that’s for sure. I’m just glad for our two seniors, because this is for them and the hard work they have put in all season long.”
“We are starting to mature as a team and this is a lot of fun.”
The Lady Eagles will face Lorena next week in the third round of the playoffs.