The Pleasanton Lady Eagles had to use some late magic in their playoff opener.
On Thursday, Jaelyn Morales’ late-inning heroics gave the Eagles (8-12) a 8-5 win and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-3 bi-district series with Uvalde. The win snapped a four-game losing streak and gave the Lady Eagles their first playoff win since 2017 against Pearsall.
“I told them we have to go back to basic fundamentals,” Head Coach Ronda Savage said. “We don’t over analyze the other team, Let’s forget about everything that’s happened in district and just come out and do what I know they could do.”
Uvalde made a pitching change in the sixth inning with a 5-4 lead and Kennidy Nicholson was the next batter. She hit a solo home run that tied the game up. Morales turned the tie into a two-run lead with her two-run home run. Jussiah Lopez knocked in an RBI to close the five-run inning.
Morales’ home run came after two strikeouts in her previous at-bats.
“My first two at-bats weren’t as good as I wanted them to be. I went out there and I knew I was going to get it to go over,” Morales said. “I believed in us, I knew in the end we were going to win.”
Pleasanton found a groove in the sixth. Aurianna Rich came around to score after drawing a walk and stealing second base to open the floodgates. The throw to second hit her in the helmet and rolled past the Uvalde center fielder, allowing Rich to come all the way home.
“We were able to get the pitcher after the change. We keep a positive attitude for the whole game,” Nicholson said after the game.
In the third inning, Mackinzy Curbow gave up a three-run double to Uvalde’s Zoey Ibarra that cleared the bases. An additional run was allowed on an error.
Curbow pitched seven innings and gave up five runs against the Lobos.
In the bottom of the third, Tatum Standley’s base hit got the first run on the board and Rich’s two-run single got between the pitcher’s legs and into center field.
Savage credited the talent on the team for regrouping after making mistakes in the field and playing solid defense.
The Eagles will need to clean up some mistakes in the field before the next game.
“They’re very talented young ladies and I knew they had it in them. We just had to find the right time and a bi-district playoff game is a great time to put it all together,” Savage said.
Standley went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Nicholson said the team has been having these type of games where they lose a lead, but were unable to pull through in later innings.
On Friday, Pleasanton will travel to Uvalde to try and close out the series and move on to the area round.