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Lady Bears end season as Area champs

Lady Bears end season as Area champs
DWAIN DUKE La Vernia team members greet junior Corley Carpenter after her homerun that put the Lady Bears ahead in game 3 on May 13 in Weimar.

The La Vernia Lady Bear softball team ended its season last week as Area champs with a 2-1 series loss to the Columbia Lady Roughnecks May 11 and 13 at the Regional Quarterfinals in Weimar.

In the first game of the series on Thursday, the Lady Necks got off to an early lead in the top of the first inning, scoring on a line-drive triple. Both teams had trouble getting on base until freshman Jamie Gilbert knocked one out of the park to tie things up for the Lady Bears. Columbia unleashed a barrage of runs to bring the score to 14-1 in the fifth. Junior Corley Carpenter responded with a line-drive triple. Junior Marisa Hernandez pushed her home with a double, eventually making it home herself, to bring the first game to a close at 14-3, Columbia.

The Lady Roughnecks got off to another early lead Saturday during game two, grabbing 5 runs in the bottom of the first. Senior Shianne Bean singled in the second inning, and freshman Regan Burleson brought both of them in with a homer to close the gap a bit. The Lady Necks immediately reopened it with 2 runs in the bottom of the inning, and a 3-run homer in the third to widen their lead to 10-2. Freshman McKenzie Duke started a run of singles in the fourth inning that put the Lady Bears just shy of Columbia at 10-8. Burleson scored Maddie Blount in the sixth, and Blount scored Carpenter in the seventh to tie things up. Then Carpenter scored again in the ninth on a mishandled grounder to win the game, 11-10, and tie the series.

The last game saw Columbia with a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. La Vernia had a homerun-fueled rally in the fourth, after a homer by junior Madeline Cantu pushed Bean and Burleson through, and another homer by Carpenter scored sophomore Shelby Rodriguez to put the Lady Bears ahead, 5-4. The Lady Necks then exploded with 4 runs in the fourth inning and 7 in the fifth to stamp their playoff ticket with a 15-5 victory.

Congratulations to the Lady Bears (29-7, 6-2) for ending their season as Area champions, after a second-place finish in District 27-4A!

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