PILOT POINT — When Pilot Point is hitting the ball well, the Lady Bearcats are tough to beat thanks to the pitching prowess of junior Christine Billmeier.
With Billmeier on her game in the circle Friday afternoon against Ponder, Pilot Point did what it needed to at the plate to pick up a dominant 9-0 win over the Lady Lions in the regular-season finale for both teams.
The Lady Bearcats racked up 17 hits while Billmeier allowed just three hits to go with 10 strikeouts. Billmeier needed 95 pitches to get through seven innings and finished with her fifth shutout.
“We really hit the ball today, and that’s something we’ve really struggled with,” Billmeier said. “But we were getting hits when we needed them, and we had runners on base. I’m happy with the way we played, and we had great team communication all the way around.”
Pilot Point had a chance to blow the game wide open in the first after loading the bases with one out, but the Lady Bearcats managed to get just one run across. Paige Cox had a bases-loaded walk before Ponder’s McKayla Pittman turned an inning-ending double play.
Billmeier gave up a double to Gianna Boria in the top of the second before retiring the next 13 batters as Pilot Point began to pull away.
Cox went 2-for-2 with two RBIs, Brooke Lane was 1-for-4 with two RBIs and Maiah Morris, Skylar Simmel, Aspyn McCord, Kayli South and Anna Hidalski added an RBI apiece. Bailey Stewart went 4-for-4 with two runs scored, and both Billmeier and Kenedee Gist went 2-for-4 at the plate.
“I’m real proud of our energy and the way the girls came out and took care of business,” Pilot Point coach James Ramsey said. “This was one of those games where we knew if we played well we’d be OK. We talked about finishing the season strong, and they did a great job of that.”
The victory was a special one for the Lady Bearcats’ two seniors — Gist and Simmel — as they played their final home game in front of a large crowd. But Gist, a four-year starter, went down with a knee injury while running to first base late in the game, and her status for the Class 3A playoffs is questionable.
Pilot Point finished second in District 9-3A behind Gunter, while Ponder fell short of qualifying for the playoffs. The Lady Bearcats will take on Bonham in the first round next week, with the time and place to be determined.
“I got to watch Bonham once, and they had a left-handed pitcher who threw pretty well and they have a lot of kids who can swing the sticks,” Ramsey said. “They’ve won a lot of games and aren’t a typical third-place team. We feel good. We’d obviously like to be healthy going into the playoffs, but we do feel good.”
Pilot Point 9, Ponder 0
Ponder 000 000 0 — 0 3 0 Pilot Point 104 301 X — 9 17 1
WP — Christine Billmeier. LP — Braidyn Burr. 2B — Pilot Point: Brooke Lane, Christine Billmeier, Bailey Stewart (3), Ponder: Gianna Boria.