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April 23, 2014

UIL STATE SOFTBALL PLAYOFFS: Playoff time in Texas

Series start Thursday with five area teams in action

Athens — Here we go.

The Henderson County area will have five teams opening bi-district playoff series this weekend in hopes of making a long trip in the state playoffs.

The Athens Lady Hornets, Brownsboro Bearettes, Cross Roads LadyCats, Malakoff Lady Tigers and the Kemp Yellowjackets will represent the area this season.

In Class 3A, Athens opens the playoffs against the Bullard Lady Panthers at Grand Saline High School.

The best-of-three series begins Friday night at 6 p.m., with Game 2 scheduled for noon on Saturday.

If Game 3 is necessary, it will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 2.

The Lady Hornets come into the series with a 13-10-1 record.

Bullard was the District 16-3A champions with a record of 19-5 and will be led by Coco Kristi Springer in the circle.

Springer struck out 14 batters and gave up three hits in a complete game, 10-2 warm up contest against Harleton earlier this week.

“Coming in as the ‘underdog’ on paper, the Lady Hornets are looking to get some revenge for a not so stellar showing in district play this year and prove they are a better team than what the Lady Panthers give us credit for,” coach Morgan Harpole said.

AHS will be led in the lineup by senior designated player Josee McNeece and freshman pitcher Kristin House.

Harpole said the bat of McNeece has been big for the Lady Hornets this season.

“McNeece has boasted one of the highest batting averages and slugging percentages on the team and in District 15-3A throughout the regular season,” Harpole said.

The Lady Hornets are a young team as McNeece and third baseman Krystal Davis are the only seniors on the team.

AHS has four freshmen on the team in House, catcher McKenzie Fowler and outfielders Kelli Gartman and Samantha Smith.

“House and Fowler have shown growth and maturity throughout the year and continue to grow as the post-season play grows near,” Harpole said. “Samantha Smith and Kelli Gartman both have the range and the arms to hold their own in left and right field.”

The starting lineup will consist of Haley Durden, Cain, Sarah Red, McNeece, House, Davis, McKenzie Fowler, junior Mallary Rummel, Smith and Kelli Gartman.

In Brownsboro, the best-of-three series opens on Thursday night against the Henderson Lady Lions.

First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. in Henderson. Game 2 is set for Friday at 6 p.m. in Brownsboro, with Game 3 to follow, if necessary, around 8 p.m.

Henderson comes into the contest with a 20-15 record as the runner up in District 16-3A play.

Brownsboro finished out the year with a record of 18-7 as the No. 3 seed in District 15-3A play.

The Bearettes will be led in the circle by Madison Timmerman — who has recorded 169 strikeouts to  only 19 walks in 89 2/3 innings this season.

The Bearettes will need to watch Taylor Sledge for Henderson as she is hitting .353 this season. Tori Lee is also hitting .341 for the Lady Lions.

Kami McCaw is the Lady Lions leading pitcher as she comes in with a 10-12 record with 137 strikeouts this season.

Ticket prices for the series are $2 for students and $3 for adults. All passes will be honored during the series.

In Class 2A play, the Kemp Yellowjackets will battle the Commerce Lady Tigers in a best-of-three series.

Game 1 is scheduled for Thursday night at 6 p.m., with Game 2 schedule for Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Game 3, if necessary, is scheduled for Monday at 6 p.m.

All three games are scheduled for Grand Saline High School.

Commerce comes into the contest with a record of 20-6 and finished out district play with a record of 12-2.

Kemp, meanwhile, comes into the series with a 17-9 overall record.

This is the first time in school history that Kemp has made it to the playoffs in softball, according to head coach Missy Camacho.

Kemp comes in as the No. 3 seed out of District 13-2A play along with the Malakoff Lady Tigers.

The Malakoff Lady Tigers will begin their Class 2A best-of-three series Thursday night.

The Lady Tigers will battle the Edgewood Lady Bulldogs at 6 p.m. in Edgewood.

Game 2 is set for 5 p.m. Saturday at Malakoff, with Game 3, if necessary, to follow 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 2.

In Class A action, the Cross Roads Lady Cats are set for a one-game playoff against the Grapeland Sandiettes on Thursday night.

The contest is set for 6:30 p.m. at Palestine.

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