Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

May 7, 2013

3A Area Softball: Robinson wins series over Rusk, 2-1

Jay Neal
Jacksonville Daily Progress

FAIRFIELD — After winning Game 1 of a best-of-3 series on Thursday night, the Rusk High School softball team had Waco Robinson on the ropes.

But the Rockettes did what they had to do — beat the No. 4-ranked Lady Eagles twice on Saturday afternoon at Fairfield's Don Posey Field to win the Class 3A, Region III Area series, 2-1.

The Rockettes got past the Lady Eagles, 2-1, in Game 2 before doubling Rusk up, 6-3, in the final game of the series.

Rusk ends the year with a 25-4 record, while the Rockettes, the third-place team out of District 17-3A, will move to play defending state champion Lufkin Hudson in a regional quarter final later this week.

Robinson also eliminated Rusk from post-season play last year.

Ending their Lady Eagle careers Saturday were seniors Sydney Littlejohn and Juliann Bowling.

Game 2: Robinson 2, Rusk 1

After the Rockettes took a 1-0 advantage after one inning of play, the Lady Eagles tied the game in the top of the fifth frame.

Freshman Rachel Miller led off by lashing out a single to right.

Gabby Willis then sacrificed Miller over to second.

Juliann Bowling followed and reached base on a Robinson infield error, which enabled Miller to get over to third.

Bowling then juked out about half way between first and second and when the Rockette catcher made the throw to try to nab her, Miller raced in from the hot corner to tie the game.

Robinson came right back and scored what turned out to be the winning run in the bottom of the fifth when Taylor Stephens scored from second on a Rusk error — Stephens got aboard on a lead-off walk.

Sydney Littlejohn held Robinson to just five hits in the game and fanned six while issuing the lone free pass.

Rusk managed seven hits in the game, with Littlejohn going 2-for-2 and Bowling, Chelsie Daniels, Bailee Gates and Kara Hugghins all adding singles.

Rusk left seven runners stranded to Robinson's five.

The Lady Eagles left two stranded in the top of the sixth following consecutive base hits by Gates and Hugghins, who came in as a pinch hitter, but were unable to get any runs across.

Game 3: Robinson 6, Rusk 3

After a 30-minute break for field maintenance after Game 2, the two powers went back at it on the diamond under a clear-blue sky.

Rusk's Achilles' heal was revealed early on as the Lady Eagles committed three errors in the opening inning which led to a 1-0 Rockette lead after one complete.

For the game, the Lady Eagles made six mistakes, which directly led to three Robinson runs and that was the story of the game.

Rusk tied things up in the home half of the first as Bowling led off by lashing the ball into the gap in right center for a two-base knock.

Daniels then reached on an infield single, which was the first of three hits for her in the contest, with Bowling scoring on the play.

That would be as close as Rusk would get to winning however, as the Rockettes struck for two run in the top of the second, which put the Lady Eagles down by two runs and forced them to try to play catch up softball the rest of the way.

Bowling went 2-4 at the plate in her final game as a Lady Eagle, while Blankinship, Gates, Hugghins and Miller added base hits.

Carroll Briggs went 2-for-4 in Game 3 to spark the Rockettes offensively.

Freshman Hannah Wolfe got credit for both of the pitching wins for Robinson.

NOTE: Littlejohn, Rusk's remaining senior, finished her storied career as a Lady Eagle with 1,009 -career strike outs, which established a new school record...Littlejohn will be attending University of Alabama on a softball scholarship next season.

Class 3A, Region III Area series

at Fairfield's Don Posey Field

Game 2: Robinson 2, Rusk 1

Rusk                   0 0 0 0 10 0    1-7-1

Waco Robinson  10 0 1 0 0 X   2-5-2

Sydney Littlejohn and Kelsey Blankinship. Hannah Wolfe and Jordyn Reel. W-Wolfe, L-Littlejohn. 2B- WR-Lindsey Cargill. SAC- R- Chelsie Daniels, Gabby Willis. SB- WR- Cargill, Haley Boyett.     

CS- R- Juliann Bowling. LOB- R-7, WR- 5.

Game 3: Robinson 6, Rusk 3

Robinson   1 2 0 0 2 0 1   6-7-1

Rusk          101 01 0 0 0   3-9-6

Hannah Wolfe and Jordyn Reel. Sydney Littlejohn and Kelsey Blankinship. W- Wolfe. L- Littlejohn. 2B; -WR-Cargill, Taylor Stephens, Ashlee Green. R- Bowling. SAC- WR- Kenzi Dawson, Boyett. SB-

WR- Boyett. CS- R- Daniels. LOB- WR- 10; R- 7.