Flower Mound softball

Flower Mound's softball team entered the week undefeated in District 6-6A play at 10-0.

Only two weeks remain in the District 6-6A softball schedule, with teams looking to lock down four playoff spots, as well as the conference championship.

Some of that could be finalized in a matter of days, with 6-6A resuming play Wednesday as part of a unique scheduling week that also includes a Saturday afternoon slate of games.

As teams gear up for the stretch run, here’s a look at where 6-6A’s softball district stands entering the final few games of the regular season.

 

Lady Jags lead the pack

Competitive as the district has been in some junctures, the race for the 6-6A title appears to be all but over.

Flower Mound, unbeaten in conference play at 10-0, has a three-game lead on second place with four to play. Drawing eighth-place Plano East on Wednesday, the Lady Jaguars can lock up the 6-6A championship by week’s end.

Pitching and defense have fueled Flower Mound’s latest campaign, yet to surrender more than two games to a district opponent. Led in the circle by Landrie Harris, with assists from Abigail Jennings and Karson Hassan, the Lady Jaguars have recorded five shutouts across their first 10 district games. 

Harris, in particular, hasn’t allowed an earned run since March 16 against East. She’s pitched in six games since.

 

But who’s No. 2?

If the playoffs began this week, the second spot in the district would belong to Hebron, which is currently tied with Marcus for second place at 7-3. The Lady Hawks hold the head-to-head tiebreaker courtesy of a 4-2 victory over the Lady Marauders on March 19. The two will rematch at 1 p.m. Saturday at Hebron.

Hebron’s duo of Samantha Puente and Lucy Crowder teamed up to slow a potent Marcus lineup to just two runs on two hits plus 11 strikeouts — a rare cold spell for a Lady Marauder bunch averaging 5.3 runs per game in district play. Marcus has won four of five since, notably holding four opponents to two runs or less thanks to pitchers Faith Drissel and Matie Wolkow. 

Hebron, meanwhile, has shaken off a 1-2 start with victories in six of its last seven — notably a 7-0 shutout of Plano on April 1 where Puente and Crowder struck once more to no-hit the Lady Wildcats.

Just a freshman, Crowder has already carved out a significant role for the Lady Hawks. In addition to pitching, she bats third in head coach Jason Gwyn’s lineup and is hitting .344 in district play.

Although a higher seed always help, it doesn’t project to be too consequential for bi-district matchup purposes with the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds from 6-6A likely drawing either Allen or Prosper, both of whom are ranked in the area’s top 10 by DFW FastPitch.

 

Can Plano make a push?

There is, however, a difference in a top three seed in the district versus holding the No. 4 seed, with the league’s final playoff qualifier potentially staring at a first-round matchup with Denton Guyer, ranked No. 4 in the state by the Texas Girls Coaches Association.

Plano entered the week alone in fourth place at 6-4 following a difficult stretch that saw them fall back from second place after back-to-back losses to Marcus (5-2) and Hebron (7-0). The Lady Wildcats had won five of six prior to that rough patch.

The loss to the Lady Marauders surrenders the season series for tiebreaker purposes, while Plano and Hebron split their two district meetings. But Hebron already holding a win over Marcus almost negates that, making Plano’s road to catching either of the second-place group a bit tougher, especially with a game left against Flower Mound on April 13.

Still, Plano is in good position to secure a playoff spot, leading fifth-place Coppell by two games and having swept the season series against the Cowgirls. Doing so would extend the team’s streak of qualifying for the postseason to 14 years in a row (excluding last season’s COVID-shortened campaign, of course).

The Lady Wildcats have shown a knack for late-game magic, scoring go-ahead runs in the fifth inning or later in their past four wins. That includes a walk-off single by Jayden Bluitt to top Plano West on March 26 — a highlight moment in what has been a banner debut year for Bluitt, a sophomore who has earned a prime spot in new head coach Brittany Welch’s pitching rotation.

 

Not out of the running, but running out of time

Coppell (4-6), Lewisville (3-7) and West (3-7) all still have pathways to the playoffs, albeit narrow ones that could close up by week’s end. 

Plano still has games remaining against Lewisville and West, meaning a season split for both against the Lady Wildcats is still possible. The Cowgirls, meanwhile, have surrendered their head-to-head tiebreaker against Plano and would need to finish ahead of the Lady Wildcats in the conference standings (or hope for some fortune in a three- or four-way tie scenario) to advance to the postseason.

The Lady Farmers’ last stand comes Wednesday when they travel to Plano — a rematch from a competitive bout on March 16 won by the Lady Wildcats, 7-4. Despite a two-double night from Lewisville’s Paislie Allen, Plano rallied with three runs in the sixth inning thanks to a two-run triple by Mackenzie Ridley.

West, meanwhile, split it season series with Lewisville and also fared well in its first meeting with Plano until Bluitt’s walk-off heroics. The Lady Wolves have had a tougher time finding wins elsewhere, managing only two over eighth-place East, and have tall orders against Marcus, Flower Mound and Hebron before a season finale rematch with the Lady Wildcats on April 16.

For continued news and coverage on the local sports scene, follow Matt Welch on Twitter.

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