Wednesday’s Region XIV Softball Conference Tournament championship game between the No. 16 Angelina College Lady Roadrunners and the No. 5 Tyler College Lady Apaches provided all the thrills and drama one would expect from such a matchup.
And because of some stellar defensive play from the Lady Apaches, the Lady ‘Runners will have to wait until Thursday for a shot at booking a trip to Utah.
Tyler held off AC 5-3 in the game featuring the tournament’s final two undefeated teams, sending the Lady Apaches into Thursday’s championship game. The win also clinched a berth in the NJCAA Division I World Series in St. George, Utah beginning next week.
The Lady Roadrunners kept up the pressure all day, putting the ball in play in all but two at-bats. AC finished the game with just two strikeouts while spraying line drives around the outfield.
But Tyler’s outfield turned in a pair of potential game savers: Centerfielder Tanjala Smith rand down Nikki Whitehead’s deep drive to the game in the fifth inning – saving at least one run while ending the inning – and right fielder Maleah Olvera made a spectacular, over-the-shoulder grab of Riley Garret’s deep drive in the sixth to save two runs and thwart another AC rally.
In the bottom of the seventh and the Lady Apaches leading 5-3, the Lady ‘Runners loaded the bases, but Tyler pitcher Dakota Stotyn worked her way out of it by inducing a gameending ground ball.
Brette Kohring drove in one of AC’s runs with a fielder’s choice in the first; Agnello doubled and scored on a Makayla Rodger single in the second, and Whitehead and Kaylee Ancelot added RBIs for the rest of the Lady Roadrunner runs.
On Thursday’s championship day, AC will face San Jacinto College, which eliminated Blinn College Wednesday night with a 4-3 win. That game will start at noon. The winner will book a trip to Utah as an at-large bid and then will face Tyler at 2:30 p.m. If Tyler loses, a final game will take place at 5 p.m. for the tournament championship.
The e-mail address for AC’s Sports Information Director is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games.
Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.
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