HOWE — The Lady Bulldogs completed the first step of another potential deep playoff run over the weekend.
They swept the S&S Lady Rams in the bi-district round, winning 3-1 on Friday and rallied for a 6-5 win on Saturday. The Game 2 win was especially satisfying for Howe as they rallied from a 4-0 in the first inning.
“After we went down on the first inning, we just chipped away and pulled ahead,” Howe head coach Tiffany Moreland said. “We have a lot of heart and fight. The fact that we were able to push through says a lot about them.”
Howe faces a different challenge in the Class 3A Region II area round on Thursday as they face Alba-Golden (10-9) at 5:30 p.m. at Commerce High School a one-game playoff. The Lady Panthers are coming off a 10-4 win over Sunnyvale in the bi-district round last week.
With just the one game, the Lady Bulldogs know they have to stay focused on the task at hand, knowing that they don’t have that margin of error in the first game.
“Last week, we started one game up and we had the third game even if we lost game two,” senior pitcher Torrey Stubblefield said. “We have to stay on top of it and are focused from the very beginning.”
“We have to be strong mentally,” senior catcher Payton Griffin said. “We just have to be ready to play our hardest no matter who we’re playing.”
Both Stubblefield and Griffin each played pivotal roles in Saturday’s comeback win. Stubblefield hit a two-run home run in the third inning to spark the rally while Griffin drove in the eventual winning run on an RBI double in the seventh.
As seniors, they’ll both be leaned on again to win this game and to keep pushing at least as far as their regional final appearance a year ago.
“We just have to have the mentality that we can do and stay focused on winning the one game,” Griffin said. “I just want to make it my best and finish strong.”
As for Moreland, she’s stressing the importance of staying disciplined defensively and hitting well. Alba-Golden took advantage of six Sunnyvale errors that proved to be a major difference in their game.
“We’ll have to play good defense and hit well,” Moreland said. “Outside of that, we just need to keep playing how we are and stay together.”
The Lady Bulldogs came together to take the first step. And after the win, the motto for the team is simple.
“Never lose the fight,” Stubblefield said. “I trust my team that we can do that and just keep working.”