Sports > Schools
Don't Be Upset: Lionettes season ends in extra-inning loss to Rockwall
Photo courtesy of Rog Pachuta of buzzzphotos.com
Friday's area-wide storms washed away the McKinney softball team's chance to play at least one more game this season, as ample rainfall changed its best-of-3 regional quarterfinals series against Rockwall into a one-game playoff, which it lost Saturday in extra innings, 6-4.
After being swept by Rockwall during district, McKinney (22-16) entered the regional quarterfinals with an upset in mind. In their two district games, the Lionettes lost 3-1 and 8-2 to the Lady Yellowjackets, who lost just one game during league play and won the district championship.
In two years sharing a district, the Lionettes had yet to beat Rockwall, but doing so for the first time Saturday would make them winners in the only game that really mattered.
And for much of Saturday's 10-inning thriller, the Lionettes looked more than capable of knocking off their district rival. A slow start saw them trail 2-0 after the top of the third, but they rallied to score three runs in the bottom of that frame to take a 3-2 lead.
McKinney junior Courtney Derrick opened the inning with a single and scored a run, while junior April Rousey drove in the other two.
The Lionettes maintained their lead for an inning before Rockwall tied things back up, 3-3, with an RBI bloop single in the fifth.
McKinney continued to keep control of the game though, and it wasn't long before they were back in front. In the bottom of the fifth, sophomore starting pitcher Chelsea Thomas, who took the loss, helped her own cause with an RBI double to put the Lionettes up 4-3.
Rockwall continued its pursuit through a scoreless sixth before, once again, tying the game. In the top of the seventh, the Lady Yellowjackets loaded the bases with one out and came away with a run to force extra innings.
After failing to close out the game, McKinney had another chance to put it away in the bottom of the ninth but came away from a bases-loaded, no-out setup empty handed. Consecutive hits from sophomore Jazsmin Nelson, Thomas and Rousey loaded the bases before three straight outs cut the rally short.
Rockwall didn't make the same mistake during its next trip to the plate. The Lady Yellowjackets picked up two runs in the top of the 10th to take a decisive 6-4 lead and maintain their winning streak against McKinney.
Winning pitcher Kayla Vandergriff beat the Lionettes for the second time this season.
Rockwall advances to face Forney in a best-of-3 series in the regional semifinals that begins Thursday. The winner will face the winner of a series between Frisco Wakeland and Ennis in the regional finals for a chance to advance to the state tournament, which will be held from May 30 – June 2 at the University of Texas at Austin.
Saturday's loss ended a productive year for the Lionettes. After qualifying for the playoffs with a 10-4 district record that included a sweep of McKinney North, they advanced past the first round for the first time since 1998 with a come-from-behind series win against Carrollton Creekview.
The Lionettes lost the opener of the bi-district series before rallying to win consecutive games against Creekview and advance to an area-round matchup with Dallas Hillcrest, who they swept with a pair of lopsided wins: 17-0 and 13-0.
Thomas threw her third no-hitter of the year in the opening game again Hillcrest.
Next season, McKinney will be moving up in classification to join Plano, Plano East, Plano West, Allen and McKinney Boyd in District 10-5A. That should represent a significant step up in difficulty from its current district, but that's something a young Lionettes roster can judge first hand.