IRVING — Guyer coach Keith Medford was confident his team’s uncharacteristic struggles in Game 2 of a best-of-three Class 6A area-round series against Mansfield Lake Ridge would not carry over to Friday’s Game 3.
The Lady Wildcats were quick to show Medford’s confidence was well placed.
After giving up three runs in the top of the first, Guyer scored eight in the bottom of the inning and never let up on its way to a 17-7 win that ended via the run rule in the sixth.
The Lady Wildcats, who won the opener 8-6, advance to the regional quarterfinals to play Haslet Eaton or Waxahachie.
“I didn’t want it to end today,” Medford said. “I was confident and believed in them, but they still had to back it up and they did that today. We did not play well [Thursday] night, and after going down 3-0, it would have been very easy for them to start doubting themselves.
“They never did, and I think that says a lot about this group.”
Guyer’s offensive explosion was a complete team effort, as all nine starters contributed at least one RBI. Eva Myers, Kate Wentworth, Jenna Rover and Ryleigh Nash had one RBI, Morgan Medford, Kara DeBruin and Nikki Overton had two RBIs apiece and Bailey Anderson and Ryan Gallegos each had three RBIs.
Gallegos and Anderson, who combined to go 0-for-10 in Thursday’s loss, responded in a big way by going a combined 7-for-8 with six RBIs and five runs scored.
“I don’t know what was going on [in Game 2],” Gallegos said. “I think I was just in my head, so I calmed down today and trusted my hands. We all love each other and know we can depend on each other, so having everybody contribute like that is amazing.”
With the offense putting up runs from start to finish, the Lady Wildcats used three pitchers for the first time this season in hopes of protecting their lead. Ranci Willis pitched the first inning before Kate Yager went in to throw 2 1/3 innings in relief.
Lauren Bates, who missed time early in the season while recovering from a torn ACL, was credited with the win after pitching the final 2 2/3 innings without giving up a run.
“Ranci just didn’t have it today, but she knows she has two capable backups,” Keith Medford said. “I thought Kate Yager came in and had a really gutsy performance, and then of course Lauren — I can’t say enough about her. She pitched Wednesday night, ate up some innings Thursday night and came out today probably not at 100%. She just gutted it out. We’re so happy for her.”
The Lady Wildcats now await the winner of a series between Eaton and Waxahachie, with Game 1 scheduled for Friday night in Waxahachie. Game 2 will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Eaton with Game 3, if needed, to follow.
Eaton (28-2) is a familiar foe for Guyer, which fell to the Lady Eagles twice in District 5-6A. Waxahachie (20-9) was the fourth-place finisher out of District 7-6A and knocked off District 8-6A champion Duncanville in a best-of-three series in the first round.
“We’re excited for the challenge,” Keith Medford said. “We know in Round 3 there aren’t going to be any teams that don’t belong. Whether it’s Eaton or Waxahachie, we’re going to go in with a lot of respect for them. But we’re going to try to beat them and we’re not going to fear them.”
Guyer 17, Mansfield Lake Ridge 7 (6)
Mansfield Lake Ridge 330 100 — 7 14 2
Guyer 830 501 — 17 17 1
WP — Lauren Bates. LP — Veronica Onyon. 2B — Lake Ridge: Maggie Miller, Guyer: Bailey Anderson, Ryan Gallegos (2), Nikki Overton. 3B — Lake Ridge: MacKenzie Denson. HR — Lake Ridge: Kaly Gonzales.