Jacksonville Daily Progress
GRAND SALINE —
The Bullard Lady Panther softball team seems to have it all together as the team gets set to open the class 3A, Region II state playoffs at 6 p.m. Tonight when they square off against the Lady Hornets form Athens in Game 1 of a best-of-three bi-district series.
Game 2 and a third contest, if needed, will be played starting at noon Saturday. All games are scheduled for Grand Saline High School.
There is no doubt that Bullard (20-4), ranked No. 15 in the most recent Class 3A poll, is clicking on all cylinders at the right time as head coach Pam Chestnut's gang have not lost but one game since Feb. 15.
The Lady Panthers have been getting timely hitting by a handful of players to go along with very solid defense — and then there is Kristi “Coco” Springer in the circle; more on her in a moment.
Freshman Zoe Hancock leads the Lady Panthers with a .450 batting average and 11 RBI.
The power-hitting Springer has been connecting at a .400 rate and has one home run and 18 RBI on the year.
Hitting at .389 is Taylor Frederick. Frederick has driven in 11 runs.
Springer, who has signed with Texas Women's University (NCAA, Division II), is 15-1 this season and has a minuscule earned run average of 0.41.
She has tossed nearly 138 innings and has struck out 241 while walking 29.
Athens (12-10-1) came in fourth in District 15-3A.
The Lady Hornets have been an up and down type team in the late going. Athens is 4-4 in its last eight outings and will need to play better than .500 softball to continue on in the post season.
The winner of the series will advance to the area round next week and will play either Kaufman or Powderly North Lamar.
Troup Lady Tigers
LONGVIEW — Having won 13 of its last 14 games Troup seems to be in a good position going into tonight's winner-take-all Class 2A, Region III, bi-district game against Jefferson (15-12).
The contest will start at 7 p.m. and will be played at LeTourneau University in Longview.
The Lady Tigers are 17-12 on the year and are the District 18-2A champions.
Jefferson came in fourth in District 17-2A.
Both teams are young, with the Lady Tigers having three seniors and the Lady Bulldogs four. With just a single game to decide things there are no second chances, so to be able to win a fast start is imperative.
Jefferson, who lost its final-two regular season tests, defeated the Lady Tigers early in the season during the Longview Tournament, so don't be surprised if the Lady Tigers are looking to settle the score tonight.
In that game Troup's top pitcher, Josee Ross, was unable to throw and another starter was out on another school function, forcing Lady Tiger head softball coach Sam Weeks to do some serious juggling of the line up.
Bethany Mason, Caitlin Tomlin and Ross are Troup's top hitters.
Mason, who has committed to University of the Ozarks (NCAA, Division III), is connecting at a .406 clip and has 13 RBI, a homer, three triples and three doubles.
Tomlin is batting a robust .379 and has three home runs and 24 RBI.
Ross is hitting .375 and has two homers and 24 RBI and seven doubles.
Ross has proven again to be one of the area's budding stars in the pitching circle where she has held opposing hitters to a .139 batting average.
The tall and lanky Ross is 14-4 on the year and has totaled 199 strike outs in 112.1 innings of work.
The junior also has 35 walks.
The winner tonight will trek to the area round next week where they will go up against Grovton or Deweyville.