As Mission High’s pitcher Gabriella Castillo took the mound at Veterans Memorial High School’s softball field last Friday night she was looking to improve the Lady Eagles’ perfect district record to 12-0. However, it would have to be at the expense of the Lady Patriots.
As the game began and the early innings ensued, the second match-up of the year between what will likely be two of the district’s four playoff teams turned into a back-and-forth battle in which neither team’s lead was safe for very long – that is until the sixth inning when the Lady Eagles took the lead to stay, remaining undefeated and clinching the District 32-4A championship.
After a scoreless inning and a half, it was Coach Vivian Ray’s Lady Patriots who drew first blood as her squad’s bats came to life and Veterans plated two in the bottom of the second to take a 2-0 lead. The lead was short-lived as Mission responded in kind plus one during their next at-bat to give Castillo and the Lady Eagles a 3-2 lead in the third. In the bottom of the fourth inning the Lady Patriots retaliated with three runs of their own to take a 5-3 lead in front of a boisterous and energetic home crowd.
Mission tied the score at five in the top of the fourth only to have Veterans regain their lead with a single run in the bottom of the frame. As had been the pattern all evening, however, the Lady Patriots failed to hold on to their lead when Mission scored two runs in the top of the sixth with a bases loaded double by Jahaira Cardoza and two more on a single by Elizabeth Elizondo. As Elizondo was called out at second base on the play for what was apparently the third out of the inning, the scoreboard showed the Lady Eagles with a 9-6 lead going into the bottom of the sixth. However a conference between the men in blue resulted in the out call being overturned. Mission capitalized on the opportunity, scoring once more to take a 10-6 lead, which they would hold on to for the win.
With the win over the Lady Patriots and after having defeated PSJA Southwest 10-0 Tuesday evening, the Lady Eagles improved their district record to 13-0 (19-8 overall). Mission will close out district play tonight on the road against the Mercedes Lady Tigers and will open the playoffs with a bi-district round game against either Alice or Corpus Christi Ray next week. The date, time and location of this game will be determined later.
As for the 8-5 Lady Patriots, they still need to win their final district game of the season tonight to punch their ticket into the playoffs. The fact that they’re playing PSJA Southwest, which is one of the teams towards the bottom of the standings, should help their cause. Even if Coach Ray’s squad loses, they will still clinch a playoff spot with losses by Mercedes and Rio Grande City who close out their seasons tonight against the top two teams in the district Mission and Edcouch-Elsa. VMHS will be playing Flour Bluff next week in the bi-district round of the playoffs if they clinch a spot.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.