HS Softball: Lady War Eagles Snag Extra-Innings Win Against Grand Oaks

By: Jake Wilson
| Published 03/08/2024


SPRING, TX -- The Grand Oaks Lady Grizzlies (13-9) fell in a nail-biting matchup against the Oak Ridge Lady War Eagles (15-3) that ended 4-3 in extras.

The first inning clearly indicated how tight the contest would be between the two rivals.

An error on an infield throw allowed the Lady War Eagles to take an immediate lead, but the Lady Grizzlies ignited their bats early and soundly hit their way into a tied contest at the end of the first.

Following the scoring spurt that started the contest, the fielding for both teams settled into a groove that played sound defense. Entire rotations stepped up to the plate but were constantly sat down due to fielding that covered every inch of the field.

Even in situations where batters connected, their efforts came up short. Both squads left runners stranded in scoring position during an intense situation where a single run could have blown the contest open.

The pitchers walked a delicate balance between surrendering runs and escaping innings. With the help of their fielders, both Grand Oaks’ Kaitlyn Torres and Oak Ridge’s Savanna Conway managed to keep the damage to an absolute minimum.

The sustained damage control could not last forever, unfortunately. A lead-off double from Lady War Eagle Cameron Mendoza put herself into immediate scoring position. A follow-up sacrifice and eventual RBI from teammate Cylee Panell broke the stalemate and gave Oak Ridge a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth.

In an exclusive interview with The Woodlands Online Sports, Oak Ridge Head Coach Stephani Rougeau spoke on the prolific hitting that builds the lineup.

“With my lineup, it could be the bottom, middle, or the tup coming through for us,” said Rougeau. “I just have hitters throughout, and everybody steps up when needed.”

Oak Ridge’s batters provided the first cushion of the game to their fielders and pitcher since the opening inning. They rewarded the team with three straight innings of perfect production that held Grand Oaks to zero suns going into the seventh.

The Lady War Eagles had a chance to put a nail in the coffin and seal the game in the top of the seventh when a third run was brought home on a deep shot to centerfield. Mendoza’s RBI signaled the largest lead of the night for Oak Ridge and a chance for their stellar defense to bring home the win.

With their backs against the wall, Grand Oaks got to work at the plate, hoping to salvage a last-minute comeback.

The effort started with a lead-off single from Lady Grizzly Ava Butler. She was joined shortly after by Torres at first, and the pair were brought all the way home on a two-run RBI from Mayce Burkett to tie the game.

The Lady Grizzlies were unable to swing the contest to their side, but a sensational effort in the clutch forced the teams into extra innings.

The intensity was at a fever pitch, and the faithful crowd for both teams was fully energized and cheering their squads on in extras. Every hit carried hefty significance in deciding a winner in the close-knit contest.

A pendulum of emotions swung back and forth as the extra innings saw neither team generate enough traction to break the standstill. A scoreless eighth and ninth innings saw the Lady Grizzlies have the potential to snatch the comeback, but their bats fell silent when runners were a single bag away from winning the game.

Credit for the composed effort from the Lady War Eagles has to be extended to the team’s pitcher, Savana Conway. A full 10-inning effort that only surrendered three runs was a commendable achievement that kept her squad constantly in contention from end to end.

“She has the best composure in the district,” said Rougeau on her stalwart pitcher. “She has confidence in her teammates and in her abilities, especially when it gets into later innings.”

Conway’s composure bled over to the rest of Oak Ridge, as a lead-off double in the top of the tenth situated the Lady War Eagles with their best chance to put the game away in three innings.

A swing of the bat from Adrienne Thompson brought her teammate home and gave Oak Ridge the lead-reclaiming run that put them up 4-3.

The Lady Grizzlies looked like they were about to mount another spirited effort to either tie or win the game in the bottom of the tenth, but their bats failed to connect again. Three straight outs with a runner on third meant the team had to taste defeat on their home field, with the Lady War Eagles taking home a tough one-run victory.

“This team has a certain motto that they’re never giving up,” said Rougeau postgame. “They constantly want to win, and they won’t stop until they get it done.”

Oak Ridge’s effort in extras keeps the squad undefeated in district play, with their sights set on keeping the losses at zero.

“It's very important that we pulled out this win,” said Rougeau. “It gives the girls more confidence that they can finish round one of district play, hopefully, undefeated.”

The Lady War Eagle’s quest for district perfection will continue on Tuesday as they get ready to face Cleveland. Meanwhile, Grand Oaks will hit the road to potentially bounce back against New Caney.

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