THE COLONY — After leaving 10 runners on base in Thursday night’s Game 1 victory, Guyer knew it would have to start capitalizing on opportunities if it wanted to send Hebron packing in Game 2 on Friday.
So, in the hours leading up to the second game of the series, Guyer assistant coach Lora Briggs challenged the Lady Wildcats to make the adjustments needed at the plate.
And they responded.
Guyer catcher Megan Ayala was the catalyst behind the Lady Wildcats’ offense, as her two-RBI single in the fourth inning ignited Guyer’s bats in a lopsided 8-1 win over Hebron to claim the Class 6A Region I bi-district title.
“There was a definite focus today,” Guyer coach Keith Medford said. “I thought from the first inning, the balls weren’t falling, but we were barreling them up, and I thought we’d be OK.
“We haven’t made a big deal about [struggling to hit with runners on base], but they got challenged. Here’s the deal. [Ranci Willis] is throwing a gem, and we’ve got to capitalize on a fourth of those [opportunities]. I’m just proud of them. Because it’s not easy to do.”
With Guyer trailing 1-0 in the top of the fourth, Avery Jefferson led off the frame with a single before swiping second base.
Ryleigh Nash kept the rally alive with a two-out single, setting the stage for Ayala’s two-run double that gave the Lady Wildcats a lead they never relinquished. Guyer went on to score eight unanswered runs to end the game.
T4: @Megan_Ayala2022 comes through in a massive spot, delivering a two-RBI single to give @GuyerSoftball a 2-1 lead on Hebron.— Reece Waddell (@ReeceWaddell15) April 30, 2021
Ryleigh Nash kept the inning alive with a two-out single, and then Ayala drove in Nash and @AveryJefferson_. #txhssoftball pic.twitter.com/7Phb1F8PIV
“I just cleared my head and knew I had to step up and do something for my team,” Ayala said. “We were down at that moment, but it worked out in my favor. I think it boosted our energy and our motivation. I needed to come through right there.”
Guyer added two more runs in the fifth inning on a Hebron error, and the Lady Wildcats put four runs on the board in the sixth. Second baseman Bre Jackson lined a two-run single into left, ending the night 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Ranci Willis did the rest and was sensational for the Lady Wildcats again in the circle. The Texas Tech signee struck out nine while giving up only two hits. Hebron’s only run of the night came on an error.
“She’s just got ice in her veins,” Medford said of Willis. “It’s so impressive for her to have that mentality to stay ice-cold. She gets down in the count, and it doesn’t matter.”
Guyer improved to 22-3-1 overall with the victory. The Lady Wildcats will await the winner of South Grand Prairie and Richardson in the area round next week.
“I applaud them,” Medford said. “Through all the things they’re having to go through with the types of school going on, with online stuff and ConnectedLearning, and everything together — they’re still wearing masks, vaccinations. There’s a lot on the table for them.
“For them to put the work in and the sacrifice for this sport is awesome. I’m a very blessed person to be here with these kids. Their work ethic is pretty amazing.”