The Howe Lady Bulldogs postseason play will continue after a come-from-behind, 7-3 win over Pottsboro in Bonham Friday night to sweep the Class 3-A Region II quarterfinal series.
This was the third time this season that Howe has beaten Pottsboro, and their ace pitcher Pyper James.
After beating the Lady Cardinals early this season in the Van Alstyne Tournament, and getting a 7-1 win in this series opener on Thursday, Howe was not sharp early in game two.
“I don’t think we came out focused for whatever reason, maybe because we didn’t have a regular schedule today, but we didn’t play well in the first couple of innings,” Howe head coach Jeff Martin said.
Howe wasted a first inning scoring opportunity when junior Erin Blackburn singled to center field to lead off the game.
She raced to third on a sacrifice bunt by senior Madisyn Hargrove, but was stranded.
Pottsboro got the scoring started in the bottom half of the first as senior Hatty Shope drew a leadoff walk and scored on a fielder’s choice by junior Alex Massie.
Howe answered in the top of the second when junior Payton Griffin lined a double to the wall in center, then scored from second on a sacrifice fly by senior Dani Ross.
Griffin had three hits in four trips to the plate, all of them hard shots to the outfield.
“We’ve faced James a lot and I was pretty comfortable at the plate,” Griffin said.
The Lady Bulldogs left the bases loaded in the top of the third.
Senior Emily Sanders walked, advanced to second on a Pottsboro error, but was thrown out at the plate attempting to score on a single by junior Peyton Streetman.
Two more attempts to score in the inning were erased by nice defensive plays by the Lady Cardinals. Howe got its offense together in the fifth, scoring three runs to take the lead. Sanders hit a one-hop shot to the left field wall for a double and scored on an RBI single by Blackburn.
Blackburn moved to second on the throw from the outfiled and scored on a single by Streetman, who had three hits in four trips to the plate, and scored twice. Streetman moved to third on a ground out to the right side and scored on a sacrifice fly by junior Torrey Stubblefield.
Howe added a run in the sixth as Ross singled with one out, moved up on a Pottsboro error and scored on a fielder’s choice by senior Kamryn Fulenchek. The Lady Cardinals staged a comeback in their half of the sixth as James doubled with one out to start the rally.
A single to center field by Massie drove in James, and Massie scored on the only Howe error of the contest, cutting the Lady Bulldog lead to just two. After a walk to Pottsboro junior Annie Adlof, Martin brought in Stubblefield to pitch.
It took just three pitches to snuff the Pottsboro threat as Hargrove fielded a ground ball at second, tagged the runner heading her way, then threw out the batter to end the inning.
The Lady Bulldogs collected four hits and scored two runs in the seventh to regain that four run advantage. Streetman singled to open the inning, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Hargrove, and scored on a double by Stubblefield.
Senior Kayla Anderson hit a shot to the base of the wall in center to plate Stubblefield. Stubblefield gave up a two-out walk in the bottom of the seventh before getting the final out that eliminated the Lady Cards from the playoffs.
Howe will advance to the Region II semifinals, playing the winner of the Redwater- Hooks quarterfinal series.