WHITEHOUSE — It took every out of two games, but the Huntsville Lady Hornets softball squad is advancing to the area round of the Class 5A playoffs.
The Lady Hornets, led by Jensen Vienne and JJ Duke in a deciding third, secured a 7-3 win over Texas High School to clinch the series 2-1 on Friday. Huntsville suffered a 6-5 loss in Game 2 of the series earlier in the night to force the doubleheader.
“We knew that eventually there would be a challenge,” Lady Hornets head coach Morgan Bryan said. “We had the luxury of being able to go out and show our talents and win big in district. We knew coming into the playoffs that somebody was going to test us, and it came a little bit earlier than we anticipated. But, my girls did a great job of coming back and battling through it.”
The Lady Hornets found themselves quickly behind in the series deciding third game, as a quick walk and hit by pitch saw them in a 1-0 hole before they even had a chance to bat.
Vienne changed that though, taking Mollie Fisher deep for a two-run blast. She would then repeat that in the third inning to clinch the lead and never yield the lead.
“It was just very exciting,” Vienne said. “After losing the first game we were all down and I was trying to do whatever I could for the team. Hitting those, I felt brought up the whole energy of the team, I was glad I got to do that for my team, not just myself but for everybody.”
Duke started the first game, but just seemed out of rhythm, so Bryan turned to Kylee Lehman. In Game 2 it was all Duke, who threw for seven innings, who struck out seven and surrendered only five hits.
“One of the things that I saw was that my pitching staff came together, especially in game three,” Bryan said. “JJ was just struggling at the beginning of that game and we talked to the catcher and we made the decision.”
“The umpire had a really tight strike zone,” Duke added. “I just had to adjust to it, and I wasn’t adjusting. The second game I knew I had my defense behind me, and I was able to make those adjustments.”
Offense remained a struggle for the Lady Hornets, after spending most of the regular season run-ruling their competition.
The Lady Hornets will turn their attention to Forney High School in the area round of the playoffs. Complete game information will be made available at itemonline.com when it becomes official.