After dropping the opener against Langham Creek (3-1) in last week’s Region II Finals, the Bears answered with style in game two--with a particularly impressive showing from senior OF Haylie Stum (2-3, 3 RBI, HR) and senior catcher Lilli Piersons (2-3, 2R, 3B) in their 5-1 win.
However, the finale between the two powerhouses was where Bridgeland had the opportunity to truly show their mettle.
Langham Creek took an early 2-0 lead in the second inning of game three, when senior 3B Trinity Allen would respond with an RBI-double to make the score 2-1, which would remain the score until the final inning.
The Lobos gave Bridgeland a scare in the bottom of inning No. 6, with two runners on base and no outs, but junior right-hander Sydney Jackson had things under control.
Bridgeland's Sydney JacksonMatthew Ogle (VYPE)
“I have a tendency to just block out everything,” Jackson said. “I just focus on me and Lilli--pitcher and catcher relationship--and I just have to settle myself down a little bit. I have to take my time and really think about what I want to do.”
Jackson showed tremendous composure under pressure, striking out the next three batters to keep their deficit at one run, giving Bridgeland one last chance to keep their season alive in the seventh.
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Senior OF Mia Landry came in the clutch with a base hit and subsequent steal to get into scoring position. With one out on the board, Rylie Marquart (So. IF) would hit a sac-fly to allow Landry to tag in from third-base to eventually bring the game into extra-innings.
Bridgeland would proceed to take the lead in the eighth, via a sac-fly hit by Haylie Stum, and ultimately secure their spot in the State Tournament by a score of 3-2--sending the team and the crowd into an uproar on the field.
Matthew Ogle (VYPE)
“It’s unbelievable to have made it this fair,” said Jackson. “We’ve been working so hard, and our team chemistry has just put us in this position to go to the next level.”
McLennan-signee Trinity Allen concurred with that sentiment
Bridgeland's Trinity Allen Matthew Ogle (VYPE)
“What makes this team special is our chemistry,” she said. “It’s also our ability to bounce back through any adversity. We trust one another, we trust our coaches, and having our fans as a support system really helps us to achieve that.”
Bridgeland did have plenty of support in the stands for the subsequent matches--with some fans even clad in fruit-themed attire. The fanbase will soon be following the team to Austin, where they will compete for a state championship.
Matthew Ogle (VYPE)
For the seniors on the team--who already graduated last week--these last few moments together are essentially the “extra-innings” of their high school career.
“It’s such a blessing and it is so exciting to still be playing with these girls,” said fellow McLennan-signee Lilli Piersons. “Beyond our extended time--we just love each other so much. It’s so exciting that we don’t really ever get tired of each other.”
Bridgeland's Lilli PiersonMatthew Ogle (VYPE)
The State Semis begin this Friday at Red & Charline McCombs Field, where Bridgeland will face Denton Guyer.
Expect the Bears to make the most of it, as they aim to cap off their historic season with some hardware.
REGIONAL FINALS STANDOUTS
Sydney Jackson (Jr. RHP): 2.00 ERA, 26 Ks, 3 CG
Haylie Stum (Sr. OF/P): 4 RBI, R, HR
Lilli Piersons (Sr. C): .600 ERA, 4 R, RBI, HR
Trinity Allen (Sr. 3B): 2-4, RBI in Game 3