Howe 7, Hooks 6
The Hooks Lady Hornets, with 30 wins in the 2017 season, had some impressive numbers coming into Game 1 of this Class 3-A, Region II semi-final series with Howe.
They didn’t have a No. 22 — that belonged to Howe junior Torrey Stubblefield, and she went all-in against the Hornets.
Stubblefield won her 10th game of the season, but more important were her offensive numbers. She had three hits in four trips to the plate, drove in three runs, and scored twice in Howe’s 7-6 win at Paris Chisum High School on May 18.
It was Hooks that got off to the quick start in the series opener, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning.
Singles by juniors Kenley Kyles and Marena Estell set the table and a 2-RBI hit by freshman Abby Ross got the Lady Hornets on the board.
Senior Sadie Denburger, running for Ross, scored the third Hooks’ run on a double by freshman Lexie Frachlseur.
The Lady Bulldogs began to pick at that three-run lead in the bottom half of the first as junior Peyton Streetman singled to left field, moved up on a sacrifice bunt by senior Madisyn Hargrove and scored on a Hooks error.
Streetman finished with two hits in four trips and scored a pair of runs.
Stubblefield and senior Kayla Anderson also singled in the Howe first, but were stranded.
Stubblefield got the Lady Bulldogs one step closer in the third, blasting her fourth home run of the season to make it a 3-2 game.
Hooks scored two runs in the top of the fifth to boost its margin to three.
Sophomore Sidney Pardue reached on an error and advanced to second on a ground out to the right side.
Ross doubled, moving Pardue to third and both runners scored on a hit by senior Korey Brooks, putting the Lady Hornets up, 5-2.
Howe took the lead in the fifth, using its team speed to put a crooked number on the board.
Junior Erin Blackburn beat out an infield hit to start the rally, stole second, then moved to third on an infield hit by Streetman.
Hargrove singled to drive in Blackburn to tie the game, and a 2-RBI triple by Stubblefield gave Howe a 6-5 lead.
Hooks, which finished second to Hughes Springs in District 14-3A, came back to tie the game in the top of the sixth.
Senior Rachel Latimer walked and was subbed out for courtesy runner Cheyenne Springer.
A stolen base and a Howe error moved Springer to third and she scored on a ground out to Hargrove at second, tying the game, 6-6.
The bottom of the Howe lineup came through in the Lady Bulldogs’ half of the sixth as seniors Kamryn Fulenchek and Emily Sanders both beat out infield hits to start the inning.
Senior Madee Mullens was sent in to run for Sanders, and both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Blackburn.
Fulenchek scored what would prove to be the winning run when Streetman reached on a Hooks error.
Fulenchek had two hits in three trips as did Anderson.
Stubblefield fanned a couple of Hooks batters in the seventh and a ground out, Hargrove to Anderson, locked up the game-one win for the Lady Bulldogs.