Monday , 21 May 2018

MHS Edges North in Crosstown Softball Showdown

If McKinney High’s 2-1 win over McKinney North at home on Friday seemed much-needed for the Lionettes, it was equally nightmarish for the Bulldogs.

Lauren McQuestion’s soft single to shallow center brought home the game-winner for McKinney (9-8 overall, 2-2 in District 10-4A), which jumped into a fourth-place tie with Rockwall after the victory. The loss was the first in 10-4A for North (7-7-1, 3-1), now in a second-place tie with Rockwall.

The Lionettes did not falter late like they did a week ago in a 3-1 loss at Rockwall. Instead, it appeared that Chelsea Thomas’ RBI double off the center field wall, scoring the game’s first run in the bottom of the sixth, would be the difference for McKinney. Thomas was one strike away from the win in the next inning before an errant pickoff attempt brought home Bulldog pinch-runner Briauna Williams from third and tied the game, 1-1.

But McKinney loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the seventh. Emily Marrs led off with a single to right. Crissy Fontillas’ sacrifice bunt attempt was misplayed and Marrs raced to third. Courtney Derrick loaded the bases on a fielder’s choice and, one out later, McQuestion’s hit won the game.

The miscue was eerily reminiscent of last year’s game at MHS, won, 14-13, in their last at-bat. In that epic comeback, North rallied from an early deficit and let a seemingly insurmountable lead slip away. This time it was much closer than that.

For the first 5-plus innings the game featured missed opportunities and gritty pitching from Thomas and North starter Celeste Verdolivo. The Bulldogs threw out runners at the plate in the first and fifth innings, while Thomas kept the North batters off balance. Thomas struck out six, walked three, and surrendered only three hits.

Verdolivo, hurt by three North errors, scattered seven hits, struck out three and walked a pair. Derrick and Alyssa Fontillas each had two hits for the Lionettes. North got hits from Allie Lindsey, Raven Gutierrez, and Kaitlin Kemp.

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