HS Softball: Explosive Matchup Ends with Conroe Taking Home an Impressive Win

By: Jake Wilson
| Published 03/13/2024


SPRING, TX -- The Grand Oaks Lady Grizzlies (14-10) fell despite a hard-fought effort in an 8-4 loss to the visiting Conroe Lady Tigers (14-9) during a midday district matchup.

Conroe’s day began with a sensational start that indicated the team’s fire throughout the upcoming innings.

Back-to-back singles immediately put Lady Tiger runners into scoring position. A flash of speed and a stolen base later gave Conroe an immediate opportunity to snag a lead in the opening inning. Their chance was cashed in via a sacrifice RBI that brought home lead batter Kaylee Chattman.

While not substantial, the 1-0 Lady Tiger lead was maintained due to a dominant performance from their pitcher, Eva Lantagne. After issuing a walk on the first at-bat, Lantagne locked in and proceeded to put on a clinic against the Grand Oaks lineup. For all of the first three innings, the Lady Grizzlies only mustered a single runner on base, and it took until the fourth inning for the entire lineup to finally see the plate.

In an exclusive interview with The Woodlands Online Sports, Conroe Head Coach Rachelle Harris praised her pitcher for the instrumental work on the mound she put in throughout the day.

“I am always impressed with her,” said Harris on Lantagne. “She always has a dominating presence on the mound, and no matter what comes her way, she’s bringing it.”

The work on the mound from Lantagne allowed the Lady Tiger hitters to find their groove as the pitches presented themselves. Stand-out shortstop Alisa Sneed found her swing in the top of the third when she brought home her teammate Aalyah Hayner on an RBI triple that extended Conroe’s lead to 2-0.

With the pressure starting to mount and their bats being ineffective through three innings, the Lady Grizzlies began to accelerate into a spot where a comeback may be possible.

After two outs played the same song and dance as their previous innings, a confident Abby Garza stepped into the batter's box. A powerful swing connected with the ball, accelerating it over the centerfield fence for a solo home run to get Grand Oaks on the board.

Conroe’s lead was cut in half, and the team’s defense showed its first crack of the matchup. Following the light lapse, the Lady Tigers put on their most oppressive hitting performance of the day.

Hayner was tasked with leading off, and she made the most of her trip to the plate by blasting the ball over the fence for a solo homer to get the fifth inning underway.

Some more hits and flashy baserunning from the Tigers lead to two runners on with one out and Lantagne up to bat. The pitcher proved her worth beyond the mound by sailing the incoming pitch out of the field for a three-run shot that reestablished Conroe’s control of the affair.

The aggressive baserunning and powerful hitting demonstrated the overall mindset of the Lady Tigers playing out on the field.

“We are a team full of speed, and we utilize that as much as we can,” said Harris. “Our girls are always aggressive mentally, so we try to use that each and every pitch.”

Conroe’s aggression on offense and oppressive effort on defense rewarded the team with a 6-1 lead going into the final two innings.

“We’re always pushing to get more,” said Harris. “We’re shooting for extra hits, extra runs, and extra bases every game because we know that’s what we have to do.”

Grand Oaks’ hopes of a comeback rested on sound fielding and putting runners on the bags with less than two outs.

The first part of their plan benefited from Conroe’s aggressive mindset, as the Lady Tigers swung for the fences against the finesse pitches from Grand Oaks’ pitcher, Kaitlyn Torres. None of Conroe’s three batters in the top of the sixth managed to get a hit, and the Grizzlies were set with a chance to inch closer on the scoreboard.

Grand Oaks’ sixth inning began with a lead-off single from Lilly Laney, who was later brought home by an RBI triple from Kiley Milligan.

With Milligan on third, the Lady Grizzlies could not have set up a better situation for Garza as she stepped up to the plate with determination to hoist another over the fence. Garza drove another pitch over the centerfield wall, with her and Milligan completing a round-trip around the bags to bring the game to a 6-4 Conroe lead.

The confident hope of a Grand Oaks comeback was immediately dashed by Conroe as the seventh and final inning began.

Even with the Lady Grizzlies bringing in a fresh arm to shore up the defense, the Lady Tigers feasted on the opportunities they were given at the plate. A single and stolen base with one out situated Conroe with a chance to deal the knockout blow to put their opponents away for good.

Then Sneed entered the box and moon-shot an incoming pitch for a two-run home run that put to rest any chance of a Grand Oaks comeback.

The Lady Grizzlies tried in vain to get runs on the board in the bottom of the seventh, but a cleanup job from Lantagne sealed an 8-4 win for Conroe.

Conroe’s fifth district win keeps the team one game behind Oak Ridge for the district’s top spot, but a continual effort from the team might be the key to success through the gauntlet of district play.

“We just want to keep pushing like we know how to,” said Harris postgame. “These girls have been bringing it so much this season, and there are no real negatives from me.”

The Lady Tigers will look to parlay their success with a matchup at home against Cleveland next Tuesday, while Grand Oaks will play the same Lady Indians squad on the road next Friday after a short break.

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