Frisco ISD entered the Class 5A softball playoffs with four representatives and when the dust settled after a rain-filled and wild opening week, two are left standing, as Memorial and Heritage advanced to the area round.
It has been a season of firsts for the Warriors, who were not only making their inaugural appearance in the playoffs, but did so as district champions.
Memorial checked another item off its list, holding on for a 6-5 victory over Wylie East to complete a sweep of their Class 5A bi-district best-of-3 series on Friday.
Sarah Overholtzer struck out nine to pick up the victory on the mound.
After the Raiders grabbed the lead on an unearned run in the second inning, Memorial responded in the top of the third.
With one out, Olivia Tefft reached on an error, Jaci Armond singled and Gabby King reached to load the bases. Sarah Kronschanabl tied it with a single, Peyton Chianese had a two-run base hit and Gracelyn Taylor added a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1.
The Warriors added one run in the fourth and a RBI single from Payton Newlin pushed the advantage to 6-1 in the top of the seventh.
As it turned out, Memorial would need every one of those insurance runs.
Down to their last at-bat, Wylie East made things interesting, as a single and two walks loaded the bases with nobody out.
Audri Floyd drove in a run with a single, Abby Hollingsworth plated another with a fielder’s choice, Ashlyn Wood doubled in a run and another scored on a ground out by Andrea Boling to close to within 6-5.
But with the tying run on third, Overholtzer was able to bear down and strike the next batter out to preserve the victory.
In the opener, Memorial’s Maddie Muller turned in a dominant effort on the mound, allowing just one run on three hits in seven innings, striking out nine in the process, in a 3-1 victory on Thursday.
Wylie East’s Ashlyn Wood matched Muller for the most part, allowing only a pair of hits, but the Warriors made the most of their chances.
Trailing 1-0, Memorial got all the scoring it would need in the bottom of the fifth. Taylor sparked the rally with a solo home run. Newlin then doubled, Avery Cannon drove in a run when she reached on an error and Tefft plated another when she got on base on a fielder’s choice to make it 3-1 and Muller made sure it would stand up until the end.
Heritage, making its second playoff appearance, also made history as it will be moving on to the area finals for the first time after completing a sweep of The Colony in their bi-district best-of-3 series.
On Friday, the Coyotes scored three runs in the first inning and that would be plenty for Jensin Hall, who struck out five and scattered seven hits en route to a 5-1 victory.
Heritage manufactured its early rally, as Elyse LeClair was hit by a pitch and Kaya Lee and Riley Lunsford walked to load the bases with nobody out.
Their patience at the plate continued, as Hall and Ahna VanMeter walked to force in runs and Sarah Hagan added a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
Heritage added a run in the second when Nadya Quezada doubled and scored on a base hit by LeClair, and in the sixth, Lunsford was hit by a pitch and came around on a RBI single by VanMeter to provide the final margin.
In the opener on Wednesday, the Coyotes trailed 4-1 early on before rallying for eight unanswered runs to claim a 9-4 victory.
Heritage got on the board in the second inning on a RBI single by Kailey Sweezey, but found themselves down by three after two frames.
Hall would slam the door from there and the offense would reward her.
The Coyotes got a RBI double from Lunsford in the third inning and Sweezey belted a solo home run in the fourth to close to within 4-3.
The pivotal rally came in the fifth, when Heritage erupted for six runs.
With one out, Lunsford walked and Hall and VanMeter singled to load the bases.
Hagan’s two-run single gave them their first lead and Sweezey delivered the big blow, blasting a three-run home run to make it 8-4.
The Coyotes were not quite finished, as Quezada walked and scored on a base hit by LeClair to push the lead to 9-4 and that is the way it would end.
Wakeland and Lovejoy went back-and-forth in their best-of-3 series, but in the end, it was the Leopards who were able to prevail with a 4-0 victory in the deciding game on Saturday.
Kate Piskor struck out six in six innings, but the offense was not able to give her enough support.
Lovejoy struck for a two-out rally in the bottom of the first inning, as Hannah Harvey doubled and scored on a base hit by Jade Owens to take a 1-0 lead.
The Leopards added insurance in the fifth, as Skylar Rucker walked and Elliott Pomeroy singled to set the table. Harvey came through with a two-run double and Sydney Bardwell followed with a RBI triple to push the lead to 4-0 and that is the way it would end.
In the opener, Lovejoy edged out a 2-1 victory to take the series lead on Wednesday.
Owens allowed just the one run and struck out seven in five innings, with Rucker coming on in relief and fanning four in two frames.
That offset a big effort by Piskor, who struck out 16 and allowed only two hits.
The Leopards took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning, as Sydney Provence and Rucker walked around a single by Pomeroy to load the bases and Provence scampered home on a passed ball.
Lovejoy added a run in the fourth, as Holly Massey walked, moved to second on a passed ball, stole third and scored on another passed ball to make it 2-0.
Wakeland cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the fourth, as Lily Acuna tripled and scored on a wild pitch.
The Wolverines had their chances, putting the tying run on in each of the final three innings, and they had two runners on in the sixth and seventh, but Rucker was able to pitch out of the jams to preserve the lead and the win.
Wakeland bounced back on Thursday to even the series with a 7-4 victory.
After scoring just once in the opener, the Wolverines struck for four runs in their first at-bat.
Acuna led off with a single, Lauren Roush walked and Piskor followed with a RBI single. Lane Kohler singled home a run and two more scored when Riley Langford reached on an error to make it 4-0.
Wakeland put together a two-out rally in the fourth, as Jaina Head and Acuna singled and Roush walked to load the bases to set the stage for Piskor, who came through with a two-run single to push the lead to 6-0.
After Lovejoy got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth, Wakeland came right back, as Kholer singled and Kate Ellis had a RBI double to make it 7-1, and while the Leopards made a late push, the Wolverines held on for the 7-4 win to force the deciding game.
Reedy, the fourth seed out of 9-5A, saw its season come to an end at the hands for 10-5A champion Prosper Rock Hill, who closed out a sweep of their bi-district best-of-3 series with a 12-3 victory on Thursday.
Makayla Cox gave up only three earned runs in seven innings, but the Lion defense committed seven errors, leading to a series of unearned runs for the Blue Hawks.
Rock Hill got five strong innings from Taylor Hagen, with Grace Berlage coming on in relief for two scoreless frames.
Hagen also had a big night at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three doubles and three runs batted in, while Emma Klaire-Hill also drove in a pair of runs.
Reedy dug itself an 8-0 hole, but tried to rally in the late innings.
In the fifth, Alyssa Thompson singled and scored on a base hit by Ally Ryan to get on the scoreboard.
In the next inning, Campbell McKee and Kennedy Henrich walked and Thompson delivered a two-run triple to close to within 8-3 but that was as close as it would get.
In the opener, Reedy led for much of the contest, but the Blue Hawks pushed across single runs in the fifth and sixth innings and added two more in the seventh to pull out a 7-4 victory.
The Lions had taken the early lead in the top of the first inning, as Thompson and Maddie Treutlein strung together back-to-back doubles and Ryan followed with a RBI single to make it 2-1.
In the second, Sydney Cummins doubled and came around to score on a ground out by Mycah McClendon and in the third, Ryan doubled and was driven in by McKee to take a 4-3 advantage.
It would not last, though, as Rock Hill rallied late to win the opener and it carried over into the series sweep.