With its back against the wall and its opportunity to return to the playoffs on the line, the Allen softball team grabbed a pivotal, 4-2 district win over McKinney Boyd in extra innings Friday.
By taking a different approach from the teams’ first encounter, Allen was able to exact a bit of revenge on Boyd sophomore ace Kinsey Kackley, as the Lady Eagles drew six walks while scoring three earned runs. Despite the game going into extra innings, Allen never trailed, as the Lady Eagles brought home the first two batters of the game (who both reached by walk) to give themselves some room for error.
“After seeing her the first time and seeing how she’s been pitching here of late, we came with a more patient mindset, which paid big dividends for us tonight,” said Philip Spaniel, Allen head coach. “Our start was huge, because any time you can score first is great, and that always is one of our five goals each game. Going into tonight, we knew the only thing we controlled was the next three, and now we are down to needing to win our next two games to get where we want to be.”
The Lady Eagles got a superb pitching performance from senior Kelsie Delap, who scattered six hits while only allowing two earned runs on the night. Allen’s biggest play of the night came off the bat of sophomore Chloe Schimmel, who smacked a triple into the right-field gap in the eighth inning before going on to score the winning run.
Schimmel’s big hit turned an average night into a memorable one, as it played a big role in keeping Allen’s postseason chances alive.
“It felt good, because my confidence hasn’t been too high due to not hitting well this season, so to come up big tonight was great,” Schimmel said. “We knew if we scored first in extra innings, we would win the game, and I’m glad things worked out for us.”
On the other side of the diamond, despite not hitting the ball consistently, Boyd was able to get a big triple from senior shortstop Diana Murtha to tie the game up at 2-2 in third inning. Although Boyd couldn’t capitalize on multiple chances to take the lead and made a couple of costly errors down the stretch and in extra innings, the Lady Broncos’ spirits are still very high.
Thanks to McKinney’s upset win over Plano East, Boyd can still win out and return to the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
“We know we have to tighten up on the details and be more consistent, which has been a problem in this tough second half of district,” Murtha said. “But it feels good to know that, despite not playing our best, we have a chance of reaching our goal of making the playoffs, and that’s all you can ask for this stage of the season.”
With two games remaining against Plano and McKinney, Boyd now faces the tough task of flushing this tough loss to Allen out of its system and focusing on the task at hand.
“Like our opponents, we have to find ways to make adjustments going forward but, in the big picture, I’m very proud of the progress these girls have made as a group over the last two years to even be in this position,” said Maureen Fritz, Boyd head coach. “We have to come with our A-game if we want to win out because, if we come out with anything less than that, our opponents will take advantage of that and we won’t be able to accomplish a big team goal.”