MARION—Just as it appeared the Jourdanton softball team had crawled back into the game, Schulenburg seized back momentum with one swing of the bat.
Macey Thompson’s two-run homer cushioned the Lady Horns lead en route to an 11-3 area-round win that ended the Squaws’ season. Jourdanton had cut the deficit to three after breaking through in the fifth, but Schulenburg wasted little time rebuilding its lead.
“That will always zap your energy,” Squaws coach Chuck Ponton said of the home run. “Once we score some runs, the next half inning we can’t walk people and put people on base and have errors. That’s never a good recipe.”
The Lady Horns got out to a fast start, scoring three runs in the opening frame. Back-to-back hits gave Schulenburg a 3-0 lead before the Squaws recorded an out.
The Lady Horns extended their advantage with a pair of runs in the third. Up 5-0, Schulenburg was not threatened until the fifth.
Kam Guzman and Taylor Rankin led off the frame with consecutive singles. The two each came around to score, the latter on a throwing error at third base. Jourdanton showed its first signs of life in pulling within 5-2, but the Squaws were gut-punched by Thompson’s shot to dead-center in the home half of the frame.
The Lady Horns tacked on four runs in the sixth, taking advantage of three Jourdanton errors.
The Squaws racked up 10 hits off starter Alyssa Otto but could not string them together.
Jourdanton left four runners in scoring position and was twice thrown out at home.
“I think she was one of the pitchers that we should’ve been able to hit, that we’ve hit all year,” Ponton said. “I’m not sure why we couldn’t get into her sooner than we did. Once we got to her, then we had some baserunning errors and didn’t capitalize when we had runners on base.”
Laney Harlan took the loss for the Squaws, allowing eight earned runs on 11 hits. The senior struck out five and walked six.
It was the sixth straight start for Harlan, who stepped in for ace pitcher Lexi Wheeler after she was injured along with some teammates in a car accident in early April. Wheeler’s ailment kept the sophomore out of the Squaws’ final seven games.
Jourdanton ended the season 21-10 after winning the outright District 26-3A championship.
“It still effected us tonight because we were without [Wheeler],” Ponton said. “She’s a valuable, valuable player on our team…I had JV girls play in games when [the injured players] couldn’t, and they stepped up. And we were still able to win the district championship outright. I can’t be prouder.”