SUNNYVALE — The Lady Bulldogs showed grit and determination in Game 2 of their sweep of Mineola in the Class 3A Region II area round with a 6-4 victory on Saturday, May 12, in Sunnyvale.
The Lady Bulldogs (19-11) advance to the region semifinals for the second straight season and the third time in four years. They will face New Boston this week for a spot in the region final.
Howe made short work of Mineola in Game 1 of the best-of-three series on Friday, besting the Lady Yellowjackets, 4-0, with the Torrey Stubblefield throwing a no-hitter. Stubblefield picked up 11 strikeouts and worked around five walks.
Cassidy Anderson singled and drove in two runs, Peyton Streetman was 2-for-3, drove in a run and scored and Erin Blackburn and Hannah Dwyer each singled and scored as the Lady Bulldogs started the series with a victory.
However, their second meeting of the weekend was a different kind of ballgame, with both teams going back-and-forth with the lead.
Blackburn started the game off with a leadoff single past the Mineola third baseman. After a steal and a ground out put Blackburn in scoring position, Courtney Anderson brought her around to score with an RBI groundout.
Howe brought another runner around to score in the top of the second after Chloe Loftice sent a RBI single into right field to make it a 2-0 lead.
Mineola finally got things going against Stubblefield, who had been hit on her throwing hand by a pitch in the first inning. After a single and a hit by pitch, Mineola tied the game on a groundout and sacrifice bunt.
Mineola took the lead in the bottom of the third as a pair of errors and a walk juiced the bases for the Lady Yellowjackets and a sharply hit single into right field brought two runs around to score, giving Mineola a 4-2 lead.
The Lady Bulldogs needed a response and in the fifth inning, they got just that with a walk and another Blackburn single. Stubblefield stepped up to the plate with hopes to get her team back in the game, and she did just that with a bullet into right field, tying the game once again at four.
Mineola put the pressure on the Lady Bulldogs in the bottom of the sixth. After an error, single and a walk loaded the bases for Mineola with one out in the inning, Stubblefield put the next batter away with a strikeout while Blackburn then made a slick play on a grounder to pick up the out on a close play at first, ending the Mineola threat.
Howe finally took the lead in the top of the seventh. Blackburn reached once more on a sharp single past first and Peyton Streetman brought her around with a hard hit RBI single into left field. The Lady Bulldogs scored one more time in the inning after a Mineola error allowed Streetman to score, giving the Bulldogs the final lead.
Stubblefield, who struck out nine, also drove in three runs.
“I told them the other day, ‘it’s not the teams with the most talent that win, it’s the teams with the biggest heart,’ and that’s what we showed today,” Howe head coach Tiffany Moreland said. “I’m extremely proud of them, and we are looking forward to the next round.”