Bastrop 9, Crowley 6

Tia Coleman unleashed two three-run home runs in her first two trips to the plate and Chelsea Fagan bopped a two-run shot as the Bastrop Lady Rams turned back Crowley 9-6 in the first round of the Class 4A softball state playoffs Tuesday afternoon.

Bastrop couldn't have asked for a better start.

After Kenyshae Beasley pitched around a two-out walk to Maddie Lebouef in the top of the first, the Lady Rams wasted no time getting untracked in the home half of the frame.

Shelrika Bryan beat out a leadoff infield single and Beasley walked, putting runners aboard at first and second with nobody out. Coleman then cranked her first three-run dinger, which cleared the left field fence by about a foot.

“I just hit the ball and ran to first base,” Coleman said. “Then everybody started hollering and I saw the ball bouncing over the fence.”

Continuing a maddening season-long trend, the Lady Rams surrendered the lead just as quickly as they built it.

Kaitlynn Killmer and Chadlyn Yokum walked, sandwiched around a Taylor Grabowski sacrifice bunt, to start the Ladies' half of the second.

One out later, Kristin Bonin lashed an opposite-field, RBI single to right. Amber Vincent, courtesy running for Killmer, easily beat the throw to the plate. As Bonin slid in safely ahead of the throw to second, Yokum dashed home to bring Crowley within 3-2.

Bailee Villajwan, representing the top of the lineup, then drew the third walk of the inning. Next up, Skyler Huval belted a two-run double to left-center, putting Crowley up 4-3.

Crowley's lead proved to be short-lived.

Delaney Mayo's leadoff single and Megan Crymes' base hit off of a swinging bunt put runners at first and second with nobody out and the top of the order due up. Bryan bunted the runners over, before Beasley was called out for stepping on the plate on an attempted slap.

Coleman then deposited her second bomb over the left field fence, enabling the Lady Rams to regain the lead, 6-4.

In contrast to her first home run, it was instantly clear that her second one was leaving the yard. Actually, Coleman may have been the only person in the ballpark who did not realize she could jog around the bases.

“I was focused on first base, but I looked up in time to see the ball go over the fence,” Coleman said. “I was hoping for a second (home run), but I didn't realize it was going over until I looked up.”

Though obviously locked in from the outset, Coleman, who hit three home runs during the regular season, said she did nothing different to prepare for Tuesday's game.

“All I do before every game is ask God to help me have a good game,” Coleman said. “This is my life. When I step on the field, it lights my day up. I just try my hardest every game.

“I'd just like to thank my coaches for working with me on my batting and defense and my parents for coming out to support me. I know I'm blessed, and I'm thankful.”

Keeping the pressure on, the Lady Rams stretched the margin to 9-4 with one in the third and two in the fourth.

Dee McDaniel opened the third with a double off the top of the Judge Phillip Lester sign in straightaway center field, took third on a wild pitch and continued home when the ensuing throw skidded into left field.

Coleman walked on four straight changeups out of the zone with two outs and the bases empty in the fourth. Chelsea Fagan, the Lady Rams' cleanup batter, made the Ladies pay for the unintentional, intentional pass with a two-run clout over the center field fence.

Beasley had retired seven in a row until Villajwan reached on a leadoff error in the fifth.

Moments later, Skyler Huval hit a grounder to shortstop Bryan, who flipped to Coleman for the force at second base. As Coleman prepared to pivot, she went crashing to the ground following a hard slide by Villajwan. Though shaken up on the play, Coleman remained in the game.

Meanwhile, Huval was ruled out at first due to base runner interference.

When play resumed, Lebouef poled a solo home run over the left field fence, trimming the margin to 9-5.

Melanie Doughty walked and Killmer singled to center, before Crymes gathered in a fly ball to center field for the third out.

Crowley was unable to cash in after its first two batters made their way aboard in the sixth.

Yokum was safe on an error and LaShonda Delco singled. Beasley, however, got out of the inning when Bryan made the short toss to third baseman Galen Brooks on consecutive force plays and Crymes hauled in another fly ball to center.

Beasley pitched herself into and out of trouble in the seventh.

Lebouef and Doughty opened the inning with back-to-back walks. Two fly balls to center field brought the score to 9-6.

With the Ladies down to their last out, Yokum walked and Delco took a 3-1 pitch off the foot to load the bases, and more importantly, place the tying run on base.

Beasley then secured the complete game victory with a popup to Brooks at third base.

“We weren't worried,” Coleman said of the tense seventh inning. “We just kept talking to our pitcher and kept telling her we were there to support her.”

Coleman was involved in all nine of the Lady Rams' runs, finishing with two round trippers, six RBI and three runs scored. McDaniel doubled and singled, Crymes went 2-for-3, Fagan socked her ninth circuit of the season and Bryan, Brooks and Mayo singled as Bastrop out-hit the Ladies 10-5.

Lebouef homered, Huval doubled and Killmer, Delco and Bonin singled for Crowley (16-15).

Killmer went the distance in the circle in a losing cause for the District 4-4A champion Ladies, who closed out the campaign with a 16-15 record.

Bastrop, the No. 12 seed, will travel to Houma for a regional matchup with No. 5 A.J. Ellender. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m. Friday, with the winner punching its ticket to the State Tournament in Sulphur.