Petrolia returns to the Class A state softball tournament after claiming the Region I title over Windthorst in a battle of bats Saturday, marking the Lady Pirates second trip to the big dance in three years.
It is also the last playoff drive for Lady Pirate Coach DeDe Gray, who will retire from from the field this year.
“It’s one thing to get there at one time in your life, but I was there as a player in ’68, playing basketball, we won state, and then in ’12 we were there with the softball team, and then again this year we’re getting to go back” said Gray. “There’s just something thrilling about being there in the first place and I feel like I have been greatly blessed.”
The two teams combined for 29 hits in game 2 of the best-of-three series. It would take an extra inning Saturday, but Petrolia came away from the barn burner with a 10-9 win. The game was back-and-fourth heading into the eighth inning, with 11 lead changes.
Winning pitcher Katie Cummings worked her way out of seven difficult moments, allowing five earned runs on 15 hits. The right-hander hurled five strikeouts and walked one.
Petrolia took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI double by Cummings to score Sidney Mobley. The Lady Pirates added five runs in the third on RBI singles from Ryanne Macklin and Coty Chase, and a two-RBI double from Macy Ridinger. Ridinger advanced to third on a Kaylee King single, and scored on an overthrow at home.
The Lady Pirates added three in the top of the sixth for a 9-7 lead. Mobley scored on a Trojanette error, followed by an RBI single from Kody Mataska to score Kirsten Kenyon and a sacrifice fly from Macklin put Mataska in scoring position.
A steal at home by Cummings gave Petrolia its winning run.
Windthorst spread runs over five innings, scoring two in the second, three in the third, one in the fourth and fifth, and two in the sixth to force the extra inning.
“We knew we couldn’t quit because they were not going to quit. We knew they were going to battle us all the way to the end,” said Gray. “You know, you have to have a little bit of luck, and we had a little bit of luck and were able to pull it off.”
Petrolia entered Saturday’s match with a 1-0 lead, taking a 6-2 win over the Trojanettes on Friday. Cummings proved to be a double threat in the game, striking out five and going 2-for-2 to drive in one run.
Windthorst scored one in the second inning and added a run in the fifth for a 2-0 lead.
Petrolia scored all six runs in the fifth inning on RBI doubles from Abby Anderson and Mobley, a two-RBI double by Mataska, a sacrifice fly from Cummings and an RBI single by Chase.
Cummings allowed eight hits and threw five strikeouts from the circle. She walked two. Windthorst’s Cy Schroeder allowed eight hits and walked one.
“I’ve got to say, our fans are amazing. Golly, I’ve never seen so many fans from Petrolia and Dean and Jolly and all around us, Henrietta, it’s wonderful and we greatly appreciate them,” said Gray.
An estimated 1,200 attended Friday’s game 1, with similar numbers in attendance Saturday.
The Lady Pirates will face Weimar in the state semifinal, set for noon Wednesday, May 28. Hubbard and Harleton open the state tournament with a 9 a.m. semifinal. The state title game will be played at 3 p.m. Thursday, May 29. All games will be played at the University of Texas McCombs Field in Austin.