Austin, Tompkins set for regional quarterfinals
One softball team has never been this far in the playoffs. The other has not done so in 19 years.
Tompkins and Fort Bend Austin enter their Region III-6A quarterfinal series both enjoying a longer postseason than usual. The Falcons shut out District 18-6A champion Bellaire for their first area championship, while the Bulldogs rallied past District 17-6A winner Memorial in a three-game series.
The regional quarterfinal clash is a rematch of last year’s bi-district series. In the playoffs for the first time in four years, Austin was eliminated by Tompkins in three games.
The Bulldogs got past an early Katy ISD test this year, sweeping Cinco Ranch 3-2 and 8-0 while Tompkins eliminated Kempner 10-0 in a one-game bi-district playoff.
Austin and Memorial played one of most competitive series of the area round, with the Mustangs pulling back ahead late to win game one 8-5 and the Bulldogs leading most of game two to win 12-8.
Angelina Leal went the distance in circle and had the big bat in game two, going 4 for 4 with a double, triple and three runs.
Mackenzie Flowe and Jessalyn Shipley both drove in three runs, while Shipley and Sidney Cater tripled in the game. Tiana McFarland and Sarah Murray both had two hits.
Austin let a late lead get away in game three and trailed 7-5, potentially facing its final postseason at-bat. But Shipley and McFarland singled and Leal doubled with one out to tie the game, advancing to third on the throw. Morgan Westbrook provided the series-clinching sacrifice fly.
Tompkins faced Bellaire for the third consecutive season in the area playoffs. This time the Falcons prevailed 6-0.
Postseason foes have yet to score against freshman Ashley Martinec, who struck out eight and walked two in a four-hit shutout. The Cardinals got a runner to second in five separate innings, but Martinec stranded two runners in scoring position in the seventh.
Avery Witten had two hits, including a three-run home run in the fourth inning for a 4-0 lead. Morgan Wright put the game out of reach with a two-run blast in the fifth.
Avery Hodge was 3 for 4 with a double and two stolen bases. Hodge, Kat Ibarra, Brooke Lorenzo and Lauren Hall scored in the historic victory.
Tompkins or Austin will make program history with a regional quarterfinal victory. The winner faces District 21-6A champion Deer Park or 23-6A runner-up Dawson.