Photos by Seth LaRue, special to Big Country Preps
WEATHERFORD – In a Region I-6A quarterfinal softball game that offered practically everything a fan could ask for, the one thing lacking at the end Friday night was a happy ending to Abilene High coach Jim Reese’s storied career.
With one thunderous swing of the bat, Southlake Carroll’s Lillian Cooper saw to that. On a 3-2 pitch from AHS reliever Diana Silva, the Lady Dragon shortstop launched a three-run home run well beyond the center field wall. The blast capped a four-run eighth inning by the Lady Dragons, giving Carroll a thrilling — and controversial — 9-8 win over the scrappy Lady Eagles in a win-or-go-home game for Abilene High.
They went home, but not without a fight. After Cooper’s missile cleared the wall to make it 9-5 in the top half of the eighth inning, the Lady Eagles opened their half of the frame with four straight hits to cut the lead to the final margin. But Carroll pitcher Cameron Timmons induced four straight ground balls thereafter, three of which were converted to outs before AHS could scratch for the tying run.
As a result, Carroll, which beat the Lady Eagles 7-5 on Thursday in the first game of the best-of-three series, advances to the next round of the playoffs with a 21-13 record. Abilene High finished its season at 15-11 — and with a lot of questions that begin with the words “what if …?”