IRVING — After scoring four runs in the first inning of Tuesday night’s area-round Class 6A playoff game against Mansfield Lake Ridge, Guyer couldn’t get much of anything going at the plate in the middle innings.
Lake Ridge pitcher Chloe Jones held the Lady Wildcats to two hits from the second through the sixth inning, and the Lady Eagles rallied behind their pitcher to take a two-run lead entering the seventh.
But with its back up against the wall, Guyer flipped a switch and came through.
The Lady Wildcats scored four runs in the final inning to regain the lead before Ranci Willis recorded the final three outs from the circle, securing a wild 8-6 win for Guyer in Game 1 of a best-of-three series.
Game 2 is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at Irving Nimitz.
“That says a lot about this group,” Guyer coach Keith Medford said. “They’ve been like this all year. They’re tenacious, they’re together and they just believe in each other.”
The seventh-inning rally started when Medford made the decision to insert Ryleigh Nash into the lineup as a pinch hitter with one out. Nash stepped right in and reached base on an infield single before advancing into scoring position on an error.
That opened the door for the top of the order, and Morgan Medford drilled an RBI triple to left field to make it a one-run game. Eva Myers added an infield single before a sacrifice fly from Kara DeBruin — who also had a three-run inside-the-park homer in the first — tied the game at 6.
Guyer wasn’t done yet, though, as Ryan Gallegos — the hero in Thursday’s win over Flower Mound Marcus — drilled an RBI single off Jones’ ankle in the circle to give the Lady Wildcats the lead. Bailey Anderson followed with a hard-hit RBI single to left field, giving Willis all the run support she needed to close out the win.
“Their lineup is very fast and very good, and when you play a lineup like that you have to put some runs up for your pitcher,” Morgan Medford said. “Then you have to play defense like we did tonight. I’m proud of Ranci and I’m proud of us for just pulling it out — somehow.”
While Willis was credited with the win, Lauren Bates recorded three key outs in the fourth inning as a reliever. Bates entered the game for Willis with the game tied at 4 and runners on second and third with no outs, and escaped having surrendered just one run that was charged to Willis.
Willis re-entered the game in the fifth and took care of the rest, recording her 20th win of the season.
“Everybody has a role, including our pitchers,” Keith Medford said. “It’s no secret — we’ve ridden Ranci for the majority of the year — but Lauren has spots where she is needed, and we needed ground balls right there. She did exactly that. She has a role and she embraces it, and I’m super proud of her because there’s no telling what would have happened if we don’t get out of that inning.”
The Lady Wildcats will look to finish things off against Lake Ridge in Game 2. If the Lady Eagles win that matchup, Game 3 will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Nimitz.
The winner of the series will advance to take on Haslet Eaton or Waxahachie in the regional quarterfinals.
“We showed tonight that we’re not going to go away no matter the circumstances, and I think that put a little bit of fear in their minds,” Morgan Medford said. “I’m pretty happy about that.”
Guyer 8, Mansfield Lake Ridge 6
Guyer 400 000 4 – 8 12 1 Mansfield Lake Ridge 030 210 0 – 6 10 2
WP – Ranci Willis. LP – Chloe Jones. 2B – Lake Ridge: Emily Olguin. 3B – Guyer: Morgan Medford. HR – Guyer: Kara Debruin.