ROWLETT SOFTBALL RILEY SMITH

Riley Smith and Rowlett rallied from a big early deficit to post a key 11-10 win over Garland on Tuesday to close to within one game of the Owls in the standings.

Rowlett had a chance to secure a playoff berth on Tuesday and they did more than just do that.

The Eagles rallied from a huge early deficit to pick up not only a key win, but also a boost of momentum heading into next week’s playoffs, topping Garland for a 11-10 victory.

Rowlett improves to 8-5 in 9-6A play and moves to within one game of the Owls (9-4) in the standings in the battle for the third seed.

Garland struck first in the bottom of the opening frame, as Zoe Sanchez had a RBI single to help them take a 2-0 lead.

The Owls kept it going in the second with a four-run rally. Olivia Garza and Lyndzee Sesco led off with walks and Alyssa Garza followed with a run-scoring base hit.

After one run scored on an error, Averie Holcomb plated another with a single and Angelica Gonzales added another with a RBI single to seemingly put Garland in control with a 6-0 lead.

Rowlett mounted a rally in the top of the third, as Kailei Goforth doubled and Riley Smith and Charley Wilson drew back-to-back walks to load the bases with one out.

The Owls recorded the second out, but in the turning point of the game, Beverly Brown belted a grand slam and the Eagles were suddenly back to within 6-4.

Rowlett kept things going in the fourth, as Haleigh Aldridge reached on an error and eventually came around to score on another Garland miscue.

Goforth tied it with a RBI double and came around to score the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.

With two outs, Brown again came up big, delivering a three-run home run to give the Eagles a 10-6 advantage.

The Owls refused to go away, as Olivia Garza had a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth, and in the fifth, Karmen Sanders drove home a run with a double to close to within 10-8.

Rowlett added what proved to an important insurance run in the top of the sixth, as Goforth again reached on an error and crossed the plate on a ground out by Wilson to make it 11-8.

Garland took advantage of some pitching control problems to plate a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame to get it back to 11-10, but the Eagles were able to avoid further damage, leaving the bases loaded and the seventh inning passed without a serious threat to close out the victory.

Last Thursday, Rowlett had earned a 17-0 run-rule victory over South Garland.

Riley Smith struck out five in a three-inning no-hitter, Goforth had a big night, going 3-for-3 with a home run, a triple, three runs scored and four driven in, Wilson had a pair of triples and scored twice, Isabella Olade was 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs and Morgan Lavallais drove in three runs.

Sachse secured the second seed in the playoffs on Tuesday with a 25-0 victory over North Garland.

Kayla Olthouse picked up the win on the mound with a dominant effort, striking out all nine batters she faced.

Madison McClarity had a monster evening at the plate. The senior was 4-for-4 with a double, triple and home run, two runs scored and eight RBIs.

Emma Patton was 3-for-4 with a home run, four runs scored and two driven in and Zoe Worley, Malani Hill and Madison Trusty all added three RBIs.

Heading into the final day of the regular season on Friday, Wylie is secured as the top seed, with Sachse entrenched in second place. Rowlett trails Garland by one game, but could find itself in a tie for third place at the end of the night.

While the Eagles must get past Naaman Forest (5-8), a win would leave them at 9-5, with the Owls having to take on the undefeated Pirates.

The two teams split the regular season, meaning the third seed could be decided with an additional game.

That could prove important as they hope to avoid 10-6A champion Rockwall in the bi-district round.

The Yellowjackets have already secured the top seed, with Tyler Legacy in second place. Horn has clinched a playoff berth, but with its loss to Rockwall on Tuesday, it was leapfrogged in the standings by Rockwall-Heath.

For continued coverage on the local sports scene, follow Devin Hasson on Twitter: @DevinHasson. Email Devin with sports story suggestions at dhesson@starlocalmedia.com.

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