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STAMFORD — In the end, it was precisely what many people expected: A low-scoring game between a Class 2A softball powerhouse with an ace pitcher and a solid Class 5A club believed by most to be capable of doing some postseason damage.
The final: Stamford 2, Wylie 1 in nine rather quick innings which saw pitchers Citlaly Gutierrez (SHS) and Reese Farrar of Wylie make short work of their opposition.
Laylonna Applin tripled and scored on a throwing error with no outs in the bottom of the ninth to end it for Stamford (17-4), which saw Gutierrez spin a four-hitter through nine innings of work. The University of Texas-bound junior allowed no earned runs, walked one and struck out 16 to help SHS leapfrog three classifications for a difficult win.
Wylie (12-7) was led by Kaylin Samulde, who singled and scored WHS’ lone run on a fourth-inning passed ball.
LAST WEEK: 3-2, .600
SEASON TOTAL: 432-93, .823
With two small-school area teams — Jim Ned and May — now joined in the postseason party by locals Abilene High, Cooper and Wylie (in the 6A-5A bi-district rounds), the Big Country still has five football teams still afloat heading into this week.
It should be noted that May, having already qualified for the 1A DI (six-man) state title game, won’t play again until next week’s championship matchup with Sterling City.
The rest will see action Friday and Saturday in venues scattered all over Texas, from the Metroplex to Fort Stockton.
Let’s dive in and have a look at all the matchups.
I’ll see you on the road.
The “What Might Have Been” feature series is Big Country Preps’ effort to celebrate area athletes who have seen their seasons affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The series will continue through June 15. If you have a suggested story for the “What Might Have Been” series, please contact Big Country Preps at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com.
After leading the Wylie softball team on a memorable ride to the Region I-5A semifinals a year ago as juniors, standouts Bailey Buck and Kaylee Philipp had big things planned for their final high school season.
And with their team sporting a 14-3 record and a top-20 statewide ranking in mid-March, they were well on their way to achieving those when the COVID-19 outbreak put an early end to their senior year.
Now the pair, who are part of a six-player senior class that was instrumental in making the Lady Bulldogs’ transition to Class 5A a successful one, can only imagine how this season might have turned out had it not been cut short by a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.
And their coach, Heather Collier, can’t help but be disappointed that two players who were so important to her program won’t get to finish their stellar careers in fitting fashion.
GRAFORD — The longer a playoff run continues, the higher the likelihood of running into a softball team that is “loaded.”
The remarkable postseason journey of the 2019 Wylie Lady Bulldogs (19-17) closed on that note, falling in a two-game regional semifinal sweep to sixth-ranked Lewisville The Colony — capped with a 12-5 loss in Game 2 on Friday at Graford.
The loss closed the books on a Wylie campaign that saw the Lady Bulldogs push to within one round of the regional championship series in their first-ever season at the 5A level.
The Wylie softball team exploded for nine runs over the final three innings Friday to rally past Cooper 12-6 and claim the District 4-5A championship over their new crosstown rival at Cougar Diamond.
The Lady Bulldogs trailed 4-2 after three innings and were locked in a 5-all tie through five frames, but a three-run sixth and four-run seventh turned what had been a thrilling back-and-forth affair to that point into a comfortable victory in the winner-take-all district finale.
The victory capped a seven-game district winning streak for Wylie, which wrapped up its regular season 13-14 overall and 7-1 in 4-5A play. Cooper, meanwhile, enters the playoffs at 13-16-2 after posting a 6-2 district record.
Having one go-to scorer you can lean on in crunch time is a blessing for a high school basketball coach.
Having three such players you can put on the floor at the same time is a luxury few coaches can boast.
But that’s the case for first-year Wylie coach Amy Powell, who inherited three of the area’s best guards in seniors Abbey Henson, Mary Lovelace and Skylar Williams — any one of whom can take over a game when she gets hot from the field.
Catch the Lady Bulldogs on a night where all three are clicking, and watch out.