FRISCO – Moments after The Colony junior Payton Blanco slid into third base with a triple to lead off the top of the eighth inning, Lady Cougars head coach Deana Coleman looked at the home-plate umpire and pointed to the left-field foul pole.

Coleman thought that Blanco hit the ball over the left-field wall and underneath the foul pole. However, the umpire didn’t agree with Coleman, and Blanco had to settle with a triple.

But, confusion soon turned into celebration for The Colony.

Already with an inside-the-park home run, Lady Cougars junior Madison Levsey hit a fly ball deep enough into right field to allow Blanco to easily score the go-ahead run after tagging up from third base. The Colony senior pitcher Tamya Waiters worked around a scoring threat by Frisco Reedy in the bottom of the eighth inning, and the Lady Cougars hung on for a 4-3 win.

The win was the first postseason victory for The Colony since 2019. That year, the Lady Cougars finished as a state semifinalist. But after the final month of the 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Colony returned to the playoffs last year, only to be swept in two games by Frisco Heritage.

Now, the Lady Cougars need one more win to earn a berth in the area round of the Class 5A playoffs.

The winner of this series will play Carrollton Creekview in the area round next week. The Mustangs hammered South Oak Cliff, 23-1, in a one-game bi-district playoff on Thursday.

“It means a lot, because my freshman year, we had Jayda (Coleman) and everybody,” Levsey said. “We were a strong team and predicted to go far. For that year to get taken away from us, we’re ready. We want to go far, just to make up for that year.”

The Lions, playing on their home field, struck first. Junior Alyssa Thompson led off the bottom of the first inning with a walk, advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Meagan Lau to third base on a wild pitch before scoring on an RBI groundout by senior Ally Ryan.

The tone of the game then shifted into a pitcher’s duel.

Waiters, who was making her first career playoff start, settled down after a shaky start and put up five straight scoreless innings, despite Reedy having at least one base runner in the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

Reedy junior standout Makayla Cox, like Waiters, turned back every scoring threat by the Lady Cougars. The Colony had 12 base runners through the first six innings, but was only able to get one run.

That one run came courtesy of Levsey. The Colony junior second baseman lined a hit into left field, and with the ball bouncing away from Reedy defenders, Levsey hustled around the base path and recorded an inside-the-park home run in the top of the fifth, tying the score at 1-1.

“I was just trying to get that run on the board because we’re here to fight,” Levsey said. “I was just going, let them make an error.”

It then appeared that the Lady Cougars were going to put away the game in the seventh inning.

Senior Olivia Wick lined a lead-off double down the left-field line, advanced to third base on a sacrifice bunt by her sister, sophomore Sabrina Wick, and then scored on a perfectly executed safety squeeze bunt by junior Sydney Young. Junior Kaitlyn Moeller made it 3-1 The Colony with an RBI double.

“If we were getting on base, we were squeezing, because we had to generate something,” Coleman said. “Sydney is an awesome bunter. If you’re a power hitter, most of the time, your bunts aren’t good. But, she squared around and got it.”

Down to their first three outs, Reedy tied the score at 3-3, thanks to good plate discipline and a couple of controversial calls.

The Lions’ rally started with an infield single by Kennedy Henrich, a play in which the first-base umpire ruling that Olivia Wick’s foot was off the bag when she had caught the ball. Cox drove in the first of two Reedy runs when she was struck by a pitch with the bases loaded. Audrey Messer followed with a bases-loaded walk.

“We have a really young squad,” said Brook Cline, Reedy head coach. “They don’t have a ton of playoff experience, but they did an excellent job tonight of not being rattled with anything that was going on. They kept very calm heads. And, they played well. They competed. And they executed.”

Reedy nearly won the game, but Levsey fielded a ground ball and threw to home plate to get the lead runner. The game went to extra innings after Waiters struck out Campbell McKee to douse the Lions’ scoring threat.

Levsey put The Colony ahead for good in the top of the eighth with her RBI sacrifice fly.

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