By DAVID CLAYBOURN
GRAND SALINE —
Lone Oak’s Lady Buffs took two games from Mount Vernon on Friday to earn their first trip to the Class 2A state softball tournament.
The Lady Buffs, who lost Thursday’s opening game 5-3, bounced back to beat Mount Vernon 3-2 and then blanked the Lady Tigers 4-0 in the third and final game of the Region II-2A final series.
Lone Oak, now 33-6 for the season, will advance to the state tournament on Wednesday at the Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin.
Freshman pitcher Mariah Nichols led the Lady Buffs. The right-hander allowed eight hits and three walks while striking out eight in the 3-2 victory and then five hits and one walk while fanning eight in the shutout.
Nichols also went 6-for-7 at the plate in Friday’s doubleheader. She slugged a solo home run, an RBI double and a single in the 3-2 victory and slugged two doubles and a single in the 4-0 win.
Nichols scored the game’s first run in Friday’s first game with the home run over the left field fence in the third inning.
Kaylee Isenburg, who was 2-for-4, put Lone Oak up 2-0 as she doubled and then scored on Nichols’ double.
Mount Vernon tied it 2-2 in the top of the seven with Sarah Johnson’s two-run double.
Caitlin Kimberlin scored Lone Oak’s winning run in the bottom of the seventh after reaching on a single. Kaylee Isenburg’s single was misplayed by the Mount Vernon left field, allowing Kimberlin to score.
Becca Schumann and McKayla Dickey scored for the Lady Buffs in the second inning of Friday's second game and Nichols and Ashlee Isenburg scored two more runs in the sixth.
Mount Vernon finished with a 33-10-1 record.