Ridge Point powers into area playoffs
The Ridge Point softball team was two outs from elimination. All it took was two dramatic swings.
Senior Taylor Roman and junior Maggie Darr slugged consecutive home runs in the bottom of the seventh to rally the Panthers past Cypress Creek, 7-6, in a one-game Region III-6A area playoff May 1 at Mayde Creek High School.
The Panthers (22-5) take on Katy in a regional quarterfinal rematch next week.
Cypress Creek led 6-5 after a three-run sixth inning, with Cypress Creek starter Idalia Alarcon taking a strong start into the final frame.
A tumbling catch in foul territory by first baseman Holly Selldin, who held on despite falling over catcher Kyla Gonzalez as they hustled to make the play, gave the Cougars (15-5) seven consecutive batters retired.
But Roman drove a low changeup over the left-field fence to tie the game. She said she got under a similar pitch in her last at-bat and focused on solid contact.
“I just knew I wanted to get on base,” Roman said. “I didn’t think about hitting a home run or anything like that. I just knew this could be my last at-bat being a senior. I had to get the ball down, line drive, whatever I had to do.”
The blast gave Darr another opportunity to support her own pitching performance, which included 10 strikeouts, three walks, six hits and two earned runs in seven innings.
She already had two postseason wins to her credit, allowing one earned run in 14 innings in a sweep of Mayde Creek and adding a key three-run triple.
The junior doubled home the first two runs against Cypress Creek as well. In the seventh, Darr worked the count in her favor and sent the game-winner to deep center field.
All five of Ridge Point’s hits went for extra bases, including an RBI double by Taylor Soanes for a 4-0 lead in the third inning and an RBI triple by Payton Jackson in the fourth.
The Cougars rallied as Delayne Moreno drove in two and scored on a single by Jazmine Gonzalez in the fourth.
They took advantage of slippery conditions during the heaviest drizzle of the night, plating three in the sixth for the lead. An error was followed by two walks and a wild pitch, with a bunt single loading the bases.
Jordan Peno’s high fly was misjudged by the left fielder, falling in to tie the game. Ja’Naiya Thomas grounded out but forced home the go-ahead run.
The Cougars finished two outs from the longest playoff run in school history. Nonetheless, they concluded a successful season highlighted by a runner-up finish in District 17-6A and a 12-2 bi-district win against Lamar, the first playoff series triumph in 13 years.
Ridge Point has made a habit of reaching the third round, advancing for the eighth consecutive season.
The Panthers face Katy (25-1) for the third straight year. The Tigers won a one-game playoff 3-0 in 2017, followed by last year’s 8-3, 7-0 sweep.
“I think we just have to come up and show out,” Darr said. “They are a tough team. We’ve played them in the past, but we also know what they have and I think this year’s going to be the year we finally come out on top.”