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Sports

May 29, 2014

Crawford ends Lone Oak's bid for state title

AUSTIN — Former state champion Crawford ended Lone Oak’s surprising climb up the Class 2A softball playoff ladder, handing the Lady Buffs a 9-2 loss in the state semifinals on Wednesday.

Lone Oak hung tough for much of the early going against the 34-1-1 Lady Pirates, who return five starters off their 2012 state championship team, including ace pitcher Carrigan Chambers.

“That team right there is a very good team,” said Lone Oak coach Kerrie Cummings.

Lone Oak scored the game’s first run and trailed only 3-2 after three innings before surrendering three runs in the fourth and three in the sixth.

Crawford, which has three players headed to Baylor, outhit the Lady Buffs 11-5 despite the efforts of Lone Oak’s hard-throwing freshman right-hander Mariah Nichols, who struck out six.

Though it was the Lady Buffs’ first appearance at state in softball, they showed no signs of nervousness in the first inning as catcher Kaylee Isenburg ripped a double to right field on the game’s fourth pitch and then scored on Nichols’ double to right.

Crawford countered with a run in the bottom of the first on a single by Jessica Tomchesson, Tori Phillips’ sacrifice bunt and then Morgan Groppe’s RBI single.

Crawford scored two more runs in the second off a walk, a sacrifice bunt, a single by Tomchesson, a throwing error and a single from Phillips.

Lone Oak closed to within 3-2 in the third after Kaylee Isenburg walked, Chelsea Rigsby moved Isenburg to second with a sacrifice bunt, Nichols advanced Isenburg to third on a ground-out and then Kaylee’s sister Ashlee Isenburg delivered an RBI single.

But that would be as close as the Lady Buffs would get as Crawford had the big innings in the fourth and sixth frames.

Tomchessen, one of the Baylor signees, led the Lady Pirates at the plate with three hits, three runs and two RBIs. Phillips, who has signed with a junior college, had two hits, as did Ashton Chambers.

Sophomore designated player McKayla Dickey led Lone Oak with two hits against Chambers, who struck out three and walked three.

Christie Cook at second base made a tough catch for the Lady Buffs, eventually turning a flip while still holding onto the softball.

Crawford advances to today’s 6 p.m. state championship game at Red and Charline McCombs Field to face East Bernard and its stellar pitcher Samantha Show. Show fired a one-hitter and struck out 15 in East Bernard’s 7-0 blanking of previously undefeated Hawley in the other 2A semifinal on Wednesday.

Show transferred to East Bernard from Pearland, where she was the Gatorade Texas high school player of the year last season. The junior right-hander has verbally committed to Texas A&M.

Lone Oak finishes the season at 33-7 after becoming the first team from Hunt County to reach the state softball tournament.

“It’s an honor,” Cummings said of the Lady Buffs’ accomplishment. “A total team effort the whole time.”

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