By Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald
FISCHER - Jennifer Herron dives for a lot of balls but doesn't remember catching one.
She did in the second inning Saturday, and it took away any momentum Yoakum had in the second game of their playoff series.
Yoakum went the next four innings without a hit and could only watch Lampasas' lead continue to grow. By the time the Lady Bulldogs registered another hit, the Lady Badgers quickly erased the threat to win 8-1 at Fischer Canyon Lake High School and sweep the Region IV-3A quarterfinal series.
"I didn't know it was in my glove when I stood up," Herron said.
With Lampasas nursing a 4-1 lead and Yoakum threatening with two runners on and one out, Allyson Blakeney hit a soft liner to Herron's left at third base. But before the ball could hit the ground, Herron made the diving catch with Yoakum's Reagan Renken too far off second base, and Lampasas second baseman Marisa Bogart standing on the bag.
"I saw (the ball), and the girl was closer to me than to Rizzo," Herron said of senior teammate. "So I thought I should try to go for it, and I did."
Herron tossed to Bogart for the inning-ending double play. Yoakum (29-8) didn't get another baserunner until there were two outs in the sixth inning.
"That was a real big play," Lampasas head coach Rusty Erwin said. "It's first and second, one out and we're kind of on our heels a little bit, and boom. So yeah, that was big."
Added junior pitcher Kady Crow: "Best game of her life. Like I've said in the past, she's the one that keeps me up in the game, like everyone else, but she's in my right ear and I hear her. She's just a hard worker and just gives 100 percent effort every time we play."
The win - Lampasas' third playoff sweep in as many rounds - does a lot more than just advance the Lady Badgers (26-11) to the regional semifinals. They'll meet Columbia, which swept Robstown to move on.
The Lady Badgers made school history in moving past the third round of the playoffs.
Last season, Lampasas spent much of the season in the state 4A rankings and swept through 25-4A in dominating fashion. But in the regional quarterfinals, New Braunfels Canyon swept the series in runaway fashion.
Canyon went on to the state semifinals and Lampasas had its sights set on making the most of its last chance with this group of talented seniors.
"I don't think it's really sunk in yet," said Herron, one of eight seniors on the roster. "I never really thought that we could top last year and this year's just been insane."
Lampasas wasted little time getting on the board. Hadley Brown doubled home Tealey Farquhar - who tripled to start the game. Crow followed with a singled to left, and Bogart doubled in the gap to bring around Brown and Kelsi Gilseth, who ran for Crow.
The Lady Badgers answered Yoakum's run with one in the top of the second, then added two more in the third on a two-run Herron single.
"We came out and jumped on them early like we needed to," Erwin said. "Kind of keep the pressure on them from (Friday). Kady pitched well and we played good defense behind her."