WHITEHOUSE – By moving up its bi-district matchup against Jacksonville, Hallsville’s softball team was able to beat out the rain and the Lady Maidens in a 6-1 final to punch its ticket to the area-round of the playoffs Saturday.

Danyelle Molina went 2-for-4 with two runs and one stolen base for the Ladycats. Anahi Ramirez reached on a single, a walk and scored two runs. Kammi Walker was walked, singled had one RBI and scored one run. Sara Houston went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI.

Maddie Melton was 2-for-4 with one run and two RBI. Lily Soto went 2-for-3 with one walk. Makayla Menchue and Abby Dunagan each had a sacrifice fly for an RBI.

“Hitting,” Hallsville head softball coach Kayla Whatley said when asked what she was most proud of from her team’s performance. “I’m glad to see runs back on the board, putting bunts on the ground. They didn’t all work but we definitely did a better job of putting balls on the ground and getting out of the situations, kind of starting off bad. It’s been a while we’ve had that kind of start and just coming back and getting re-focused. Ultimately, I’m just most proud of the win.”

Melton got the pitching win for the Ladycats as she pitched all seven innings and allowed one run on two hits with 13 strikeouts.

Kylie McCown reached on two walks and scored the Lady Maidens’ only run of the day. Claire Gill went 1-for-3 on the day and Jayden Smith came up with a single.

Back-to-back walks put Ramirez and Walker on base in the top of the first inning. Houston then reached on an error and that loaded the bases for the Ladycats. Ramirez found her way home on an RBI from Melton to give Hallsville a 1-0 lead heading into the bottom half of the inning where McCown was walked to lead things off. She took second on a sacrifice bunt from Gill then took third on a wild pitch.

Riley Todd was walked and that put runners on the corners. Another wild pitch allowed McCown to slide into home plate for Jacksonville’s first run of the game as Todd advanced to second base. Melton tossed her first two strikeouts to end the first inning with the game knotted up at 1-1.

Hallsville had one base-runner in the top of the second but was unable to jump back in front. The bottom half of the inning saw Melton strike out three batters in order to bring it to the third inning.

Houston launched the ball to the center of the leftfield wall for a standup double with two outs. A pop up to the circle ended the Ladycats’ chances of scoring in the inning. A leadoff walk in the bottom of the inning put Juliana Harwell on first base before she made where around to the other corner. A pop fly to first ended the inning as the two teams remained knotted up at 1.

The ball bounced between two Jacksonville infielders as Soto reached second to lead off the fourth inning. She advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Menchue. That was the closest Hallsville came to scoring in that inning as a strikeout turned it over to the Maidens’ bats. Asjia Canady reached on a walk and Jasmine Gallegos on a hit-by-pitch before both advanced to scoring position.

Melton threw three straight strikeouts to keep Jacksonville from taking the lead.

Molina led the top of the fifth inning off with a single. Ramirez put down a bunt and beat out the throw to first for the single as the Ladycats had runners on the corners. Molina was brought home on an RBI single from Walker to give the Ladycats the 2-1 lead. Ramirez tagged up and scored on an RBI sacrifice fly that sailed into right field. Melton then brought Walker home on an RBI base hit. Soto singled to advance Melton to second. Menchue was walked and that loaded the bases for the Ladycats. A sac fly from Dunagan scored Melton. That gave the Ladycats a 5-1 lead after five innings.

With two outs, Gill singled for the Jacksonville’s first hit of the night but the Ladycats held the Lady Maidens scoreless and kept their four-run lead.

Molina slapped the ball as it took a bounce over the catcher, sending her to first for the base hit. A wild pitch allowed her to advance to second before stealing third. Houston’s RBI standup-double scored Molina. That made the score 6-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth. Smith singled with one out in the bottom half. Melton the threw her third strikeout of the inning and her 12th of the game to bring it to the final inning of the day.

Hallsville had one base-runner in the top of the seventh inning as the Lady Maidens had one last chance to keep their season alive but that only lasted for three more batters. Ladycats forced the Lady Maidens to go three up, three down to seal up the 6-1 win.

Hallsville will take on Red Oak in the area round.

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