Deer Park shocks Lady Eagles 8-7 to sweep series

PEARLAND DAWSON — No. 5 state-ranked Deer Park has proven they are one of the premier softball programs in the state. But they did something that even took them by surprise with an improbable come-from-behind 8-7 win over the Dawson Lady Eagles to sweep the best-of-three series and end the season for the Lady Eagles.

Dawson (20-12) played Deer Park tough in the first game only to come up short 2-0.

The Lady Eagles knew they had to win the second game in order to get a shot at a third game that would send them to the next round with a win.

Because of the rain in the Houston area, the series was moved to Madisonville.

Everything went according to plan for Dawson head coach Katelyn Welch as the Lady Eagles jumped out to a 7-0 lead with a run in the top of the first and six runs in the second inning making the score 7-0.

That's the way the score stood for the rest of the game as Dawson senior pitcher Courtney Day was in full command limiting the Lady Deer to no runs and only one hit through six innings.

Welch pulled Day in favor of Adeline Cox in the pitching circle hoping to get three quick outs and send the series to one more game to decide which team would move on in the playoffs.

Day had retired 10 consecutive batters as Dawson entered the final frame.

That's when the wheels fell off for Dawson as Cox was greeted with a solo home run by Jasie Roberts over the right field wall making the score 7-1.

With no outs, Deer Park loaded the bases with two straight singles and an error.

Kaurie Winters chased Cox from the circle when she singled home Morado and Cortez. That prompted Day’s return to the pitching circle, but Tabby Burnett singled, loading the bases again.

Leadoff batter Sara Vanderford then ripped a hard-hit ball to the wall in right field for a three-RBI double, reducing the deficit to 7-6.

Vanderford got hung up between second and third, but she safely dove into third base, representing the tying run and still no outs.

A Courtney Plocheck grounder to shortstop was fumbled, tying the game and Haidyn Hardcastle reached on a 4-6 fielder’s choice for the inning’s first out.

Remarkably, Dawson finally found the first out with Deer Park’s ninth batter of the frame. Roberts, the 10th batter who opened the frame with a homer, struck out swinging, setting up Morado’s walk-off single for the miraculous 8-7 win.

Leading hitters for Dawson included Peyton Ellermann (1-for-3, one run scored, one RBI), Kyra Lunford (2-for-4, one run scored, one RBI), Brooke Toler (1-for-4, two RBIs), and Madison Smith (1-for-5, two runs scored).