By Jason Della Rosa
Special to the Daily Sun
FORNEY — The Hubbard Lady Jags' magical playoff run came to an end against the Sam Rayburn Lady Rebels, keeping Hubbard just short of getting to the state tournament.
Dallas Fletcher hit a two-run home run before Sam Rayburn pulled away for a 7-2 victory over the Lady Jaguars in the Class 1A Region II final on Friday night.
Sam Rayburn (30-2) will play in the state tournament on Wednesday in a semifinal at 9 a.m. or noon against an opponent to be determined.
It was the first time Hubbard (24-7-1) had lost in the postseason, having won four straight one-game series — including in the region semis against Sam Rayburn's district-mate Trenton.
The Lady Jags, who will return six starters, overcame a third-place district finish to be just one victory from making it to state. But Hubbard wasn't able to overcome last year's Class 1A runner-up.
Hubbard caught a break in the first inning when Alaina Kissinger hit a ball ticketed for right field but it hit Cassidy Hall running from first to end the inning and keep Maddie Dow from scoring.
Dow hit a three-run home run in the third to start the scoring. The rally started with one out as Ali Wiechman singled and Torri Pannell bunted past a diving attempt by Kate Sauke at third.
Sam Rayburn added a run in the fourth when Carly Park doubled with one out and courtesy runner Keely Spence scored on a two-out error.
Hubbard put the leadoff runner on in four innings but only cashed in on one opportunity. In the first inning Nakaila Banks had a bunt single and stole second but was stranded there. Sadie Simons reached on a fielder's choice and Banks walked in the third but Kissinger struck out Curtis and Sauke flew out to right.
An error to open the fourth allowed Jessica Williams to reach and Fletcher followed with a two-run homer to center field to cut the Lady Jaguars' deficit to 4-2. Sam Rayburn then brought Hall in to relieve Kissinger.
With one out in the fifth, Banks reached on an error and Curtis singled to right. Sauke popped out to first and the infield fly rule was in effect. The ball dropped and both runners moved up. Williams hit a ball to the right-center gap but Wiechman ran it down to end the inning and keep the game from being tied.
Sam Rayburn put the game away with three runs the next inning. Brittnie Whirley reached on a one-out error and then the Lady Rebels had runners on the corners when Wiechman grounded to third and Sauke short-hopped her throw to second trying to get the lead runner. Dow walked to load the bases and Hall drilled a bases-clearing double to the right-center gap.
Hall retired the final six of the game after Fletcher's walk to open the sixth to clinch Sam Rayburn's spot at state.
Class 1A Region II final
Sam Rayburn 7, Hubbard 2
Sam Rayburn 003 103 0 — 7 8 1
Hubbard 000 200 0 — 2 4 4
Alaina Kissinger, Cassidy Hall (4) and Ali Wiechman, Jaiden Pelton (4); Olivia Curtis and Amy Anz. W — Hall. L — Curtis. 2B — Sam Rayburn: Cassidy Hall 2, Carly Park. 3B — None. HR — Sam Rayburn: Maddie Dow; Hubbard: Dallas Fletcher.
Records — Sam Rayburn 30-2, Hubbard 24-7-1.