By Leslie Gibson
When Kourtney Kelley was signaled home by third base coach on a hit by Sarah Stutts with two outs, her arrival at home plate would either keep the game alive for the Royse City Lady ’Dawgs, or have them face a fresh Prosper pitcher in a third game early the next day.
But the freshman, who had never slid in her life, made the slide of her life, getting her foot on the bag as she came in under the tag, on a fielder’s choice which put team co-captain Stutts on third.
The only other senior, and co-captain, Devani Harrison walked and then Dezy Arrendondo “our best hitter” Coach James Bain said, got a base hit. Stutts touched home plate, and Royse City advanced in play-offs over Prosper, winning 3-2 at home Friday night after 11 p.m., the second win in the possible three games.
Coach James Bain recalled the bottom of the eighth, as Royse City had to beat the run Prosper had made in the top, putting the Lady Eagles ahead 2-1.
With one out, Kelly, the number nine batter, got a blooper to the outfield for first base.
With two outs, Stutts, a college signee, worked the pitches, allowing Kelly to steal second. Then she hit one between leftfield and centerfield. The left-fielder had to run up to get it, Bain said, and threw it to home. “We were going to get beat right there and we’d have to play at noon Saturday with Alicia Pille pitching her third straight game.”
But Kelly “had wings on her feet” he said. “I’m hollering get down, get down and the ball was right there in the catcher’s mitt and she slid under it. Sarah made it all the way to third base and got a triple off that. Kourtney’s probably the slowest kid on the team and slid in like a champ and got underneath the tag.”
“I think the good Lord was telling me if you want to go farther you have to take a chance. I just had a feeling if she (Sarah) gets a hit I’ve got to send Kourtney all the way,” he said he was thinking before the at-bat.
The two teams were tied 1-1 entering the seventh inning after Prosper’s pitcher Jourdan Esquenazi who “threw really hard” began to tire and walked in a run for Royse City.
Lissa Pappas, “a really good hitter,” Bain said, ended up scoring in the top of the eighth.
Thursday night, at Prosper, Royse City freshman pitcher Pille, with help from the field, held the Lady Eagles scoreless. Arrendondo and Ashley Heinaman got an RBI each on Pappas, and the Lady ’Dawgs won 2-0.
“The girls were real fired up — as high as I’ve ever seen them,” said Bain. “Those guys went out and they played the hardest game I’ve ever seen them play,” he said.
“She may be a 15-year-old freshman, but she pitched like an 18-year-old senior,” said Bain of Pille. “She outpitched their starting pitcher.”
“I called the pitches and she threw them — we were thinking alike.”
Arrendondo had a single for an RBI, Julia Zielinski had a double and Heinaman had an RBI.
Every time Prosper got a little momentum, Bain said, “we’d come back and stop it.”
Having beaten Pilot Point 8-1 last year on that same field, Bain had told the girls, “It’s meant to be.”
As of press-time, the time and location of the Friday game against Fort Worth Castleberry is unknown. Royse City will be the home team. Saturday, Castleberry will be home, in a planned 1 p.m. start, and should a third game be needed, Castleberry will be home team again.
Castleberry had a bye last week, having taken first place in District 11-3A, with a 10-0 district record.
Prosper, Frisco Wakeland, and Celina, in district 9-3A, each with 11-3 district records, had flipped a coin for place. Prosper ended up in third, to play Royse City.
Frisco Wakeland beat Quinlan Ford 1-0 Thursday.
By Leslie Gibson