By Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald
ALEDO - The numbers that read across the scoreboard said it all.
Burkburnett had the most errors.
Gatesville had the most runs.
The Hornets took advantage of six Burkburnett errors Friday, while their own defense came through with one solid play after another in a 7-0 win in a Class 3A area-round playoff at Aledo High School.
Gatesville (27-10) advances to the regional quarterfinals for the second consecutive year, where the Hornets could see District 7-3A rival West for the second straight year as well. No. 5 West is playing Vernon in a best-of-three series, concluding today at Graham. Should West advance, the two district rivals - West swept the season series - will likely play in Waco.
The two met in the same round last year, with Gatesville winning 4-1 on the way to the program's first-ever trip to the state semifinals.
Against the Lady Bulldogs, Gatesville capitalized on extra opportunities. Six of the Hornets' seven runs were unearned.
Gatesville scored twice in the third inning off three Burkburnett (24-7-1) errors, twice in the fifth off one error and two more runs in the sixth off two errors.
"I didn't think they were going to give us a lot of chances like that," Gatesville head coach Michelle Edwards said. "They're one of the top-10 teams in the state and they normally play solid defense."
The lone earned run came early in the sixth inning, when Cassie Morphet singled home Courtney Chacon, who reached on a bunt single before stealing second base. Morphet second the inning's second run on a throwing error, while Paige Chambers, who reached on the error and made it all the way to third base, came around on an Emily Leib single.
On the other side, Gatesville made plays behind Leib, who struck out nine Lady Bulldogs in a 91-pitch complete game. The Hornets didn't make an error, with the other 12 outs taken care of by Gatesville's infield.
Burkburnett got its first hit in the second inning, as Paige Daino reached on an infield single. Two pitches later, Riley Painter hit a grounder to shortstop Shelby Watson, who threw to Lauren Nichols to force out Daino at second base before Nichols threw to Allison Aslin at first to complete the double play.
The next inning, Nichols charged a slow roller that Leib actually knocked down to get an out. The lone out in the outfield came in the fourth inning, as centerfielder Cassie Morphet tracked down a flyball right before Leib struck out Painter to leave a runner stranded at third base.
"I was more impressed with our defense because I think we played really well behind Emily," Edwards said. "We have a good little double play. Skye (Truss) had a couple good plays at third.
"Second baseman (Nichols) played well and Cassie makes a great catch out there. If they don't make those plays, they get a couple runs in early."
Said Leib: "Whenever they did that double play, it was just like a humongous burden off my chest. It really helps a whole lot."