Montano, Lady Deer start softball playoffs with 16-hit attack in 11-1 win
BAYTOWN - The bi-district round of the state playoffs has never caused Deer Park High School’s varsity softball program any trouble.
Well, the Lady Deer certainly had trouble in Game 1 of their bi-district series with Baytown Sterling - trouble keeping the softball within the confines of Baytown Sterling High School’s field.
Highlighted by Amaya Montano clouting two home runs to go with three other Lady Deer shots that nearly went out, Deer Park erupted for 16 hits in crushing the Lady Rangers 11-1 Wednesday night.
The game was stopped in the sixth inning by the mercy rule. Game 2 arrives Friday night at 6 back at Sterling.
Courtney Plocheck enjoyed a 4-for-4 night and she was one of five Lady Deer to hit two-baggers as the offense made it an easy night for pitcher Julia York.
Montano, the nine-hole hitter, practiced her home run trot in the third and fifth innings, a pair of two-run roundtrippers that made the scores 8-0 and 10-1. Both cleared the left-field fence.
“She (Montano) had one of those games where she was seeing the ball well, making good choices and the ball went. It was great to see that. She can be a leadoff, she can be a five, she can be a nine. I like having her before Plo (Plocheck). It helps us set the table for the top of the lineup,” head coach Carrie Austgen said.
The longtime Lady Deer coach couldn’t remember off the top of her head when was the last time a player hit two homers in one game.
As for those other close encounters with the outfield fence, Jasie Roberts put the centerfielder within the shadow of the fence in the fifth frame and Sara Vanderford put the centerfielder all the way against the fence before hauling in her long-distance fly ball. That too was in the fifth.
In the third, three batters before Montano went deep for the first time, K.K. Morado put the Sterling left fielder against the fence. She initially caught the ball, before it popped out, gathering it back in, trapping it against the fence.
Plocheck tallied three singles and a double. Her double in the second inning was a shot off the fence.
For the entire game, Deer Park lashed out five doubles.
It was Morado who gave York all the runs she would need when she doubled home two runs in the first off starting and losing pitcher Kaitlyn Stork. It was already 1-0 after an Ash Wade RBI double scored Plocheck.
Wade returned in the third to make it 4-0, Roberts upped it to 5-0 and Kaurie Winters produced a 6-0 lead, setting the table for Montano’s first homer.
The defense wasn’t needed but it turned a 2-3 double play to end the third. Winters caught a bunt attempt at the plate and fired to first. Winters also picked off a runner at first that led to a tagout of the lead runner at third in the sixth and Montano, patrolling at shortstop, started the game with an over-the-shoulder catch in shallow left field.