Angelina College’s softball team and its fans experienced the brutal gamut of emotions in Monday’s third round of the Region XIV Conference Tournament.
After staying alive with a thrilling early win over Galveston – on a Kaylee Parker walk-off home run – the Lady Roadrunners saw their season come to an end with a 5-4 loss to Tyler College in the day’s final game.
AC trailed the Lady Apaches 4-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, but the team rallied to tie the game behind Morgan Conner’s bases-loaded walk and a two-run Tyler error. Jordan Kisselburg drove in the first AC run with an RBI double in the second inning.
The sixth-inning excitement was short-lived: Tyler bounced back to score the eventual winning run in the top of the seventh. Shelby Hotchkiss led off with a walk, moved around to third on another walk and a Rebecca Snow single and scored on Haillie Weber’s sacrifice fly.
In the bottom of the inning, AC’s Taylor Davis and Parker drove balls deep to the outfield fence – but those shots fell just short, and Tyler advanced to tomorrow’s round.
In the day’s early game, the Lady Roadrunners and Galveston College battled in another elimination game. AC took a 5-1 lead in the third behind a pair of two-run singles from Parker and Shay Vegas, only to see the Whitecaps tie the game with two runs in the fourth – on an Angel Villanueva two-run homer – and two in the fifth. With the score knotted at 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh, Parker drove the first pitch she saw far over the left-field fence for the walk-off win and the team’s 100th homer of the season.
The Lady Roadrunners end their season having established several records, including wins in a season with 45 and home runs in a season with 100. Kali Holcomb set the individual single-season home run record with 18, and Taylor Davis finishes her two years as a Lady Roadrunner having set the all-time career home run mark with 29.
In the day’s other action, San Jacinto College punched its ticket to the NJCAA World Series with a 1-0 win over Blinn College. Blinn and Tyler College will play at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, and the winner will face San Jacinto at 12:30. An if-necessary game will take place at 3 p.m. if San Jacinto loses the 12:30 game.
AC’s loss marked the final game for sophomores Kylie Murdock, Halie Pritchett, Lauren Garza, Jordan Kisselburg, Miranda Wiggins, Whitney Howerton, Lynsey Mitchell, Kaylee Parker, Kali Holcomb, Taylor Davis, Taylor LaGrange and Shay Vegas.
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.