AP NEWS

Hulon silences Southwest’s bats in area round

May 7, 2019

Dripping Springs pitcher Logan Hulon wasn’t surprised to see Southwest junior Aaliyah Ortiz develop as a hitter this season.

Hulon and Ortiz were teammates on the Bombers select softball team last summer. So, she saw the onset of Ortiz’s improvement, which was underscored by her 22 home runs and 71 RBIs this season.

Ortiz nearly hit her 23rd on Thursday in a Class 5A area-round game at Texas State University. The ball was tracked down on the right-field warning track, and it was the Dragons’ best opportunity for a hit.

“Aaliyah definitely has improved,” said Hulon, who struck out 12 while pitching a no-hitter as Dripping Springs (35-2) won 3-0.

“She really was a good player for us this summer. I can’t wait to watch her in the future,” Hulon said.

It was the University of Houston-bound pitcher’s first no-hitter this season. Hulon said she didn’t think about the milestone during the game and simply tried to focus on throwing inside when she pitched to McNeese State University commit Ortiz — which only happened with no one on base.

“I didn’t really have a game plan for pitching to Aaliyah,” Hulon said. “I just tried to hit my spots when I threw to her.”

Southwest (32-7-1) found out early this season that it could compete against teams like Dripping Springs.

The Dragons finished second at the prestigious NFCA Texas High School Leadoff Classic Feb. 16. Southwest went on to share the District 27-5A title with Medina Valley and sweep Alamo Heights for a bi-district championship.

“We shocked people with what we could do,” said Dragons senior Tamy Martinez, who hit four home runs and drove in 71 runs. “We finished second out of 60 teams. We wanted it, and we have some amazing players.”

Dripping Springs, No. 3 in the Texas Girls Coaches Association rankings, only mustered five hits against Southwest pitcher Alexis Obregon, but two of them brought in runs.

Bailey Hudgeons drove in each of the Tigers’ runs, with a first-inning single and a two-run home run in the fifth. The homer was one of few pitches in which Obregon failed to hit her target. A pitch earlier, Obregon appeared to have rung up a strikeout.

“The pitch right before the home run, the ump just didn’t call it,” Southwest coach Sandy Hernandez said. “That’s tough to come back from. For a sophomore, I was impressed with her performance.”

In addition to Ortiz’s long opposite-field drive in the third, the Dragons’ best chance to break up the no-hitter was on sophomore Jasmine Huerta’s hard-hit liner to center field with one out in the seventh.

“We learned that they’re competitive kids,” Hernandez said. “They were so clutch. They gave it their all down to the last inning.”

Martinez embodied the Dragons’ fighting spirit. She was cut from Southwest’s varsity as a freshman.

“I’m going to work hard for my team,” Martinez said. “We all work as one.”