By BRAD KEITH
BROCK (May 6, 2017) — It was only fitting the series would need extra innings in Game 3.
And in the end, it was only fitting for it to end on a strikeout by Brownwood gem Cheyanne Ellett.
The sophomore and UT-Arlington verbal commit fired her 15th strikeout of the afternoon and 41st of the series as Stephenville left the tying run at third in a 1-0 Brownwood win in a Region I-4A area softball series that was tight from the opening pitch on Friday.
Elliott had 26 strikeouts in Friday’s doubleheader, when Stephenville won the opener and Brownwood game two by identical 2-1 scores. The reigning Region I champ Lady Lions advance to face Mineral Wells or Vernon in the regional quarterfinals.
Brownwood reached third with less than two outs twice before the extra inning, but Julia Flores navigated both threats without allowing a run. Flores was Ellett’s equal, not in strikeouts, but in efficiency in the circle, allowing just four runs while pitching all 21 innings. Stephenville scored just three in 22 innings against Ellett, who had a perfect game until there were two outs in the bottom of the sixth in game three.
Sam Luna broke up the perfect game with an infield single in the bottom of the sixth, and Madison Gilder walked in the seventh but was doubled up when she didn’t tag up on a fly out.
Brownwood finally broke through in the eighth with a single, a bunt and a double off the wall in center. The Honeybees had a chance to answer with courtesy runner Kristen Pettit stealing second and third after Jessica Howell was hit by a pitch. But Ellett put the finishing touches on her masterpiece and her team’s area championship with a swinging strike three, then flexed both arms and screamed for joy as she spun to face her teammates in the field while they rushed to the mound to celebrate with their star.
Elliott was superb and the Honeybees shorthanded. Catcher and Tarleton State signee Sami Shaffer never made it back after suffering a broken arm in a car accident late in the regular season.
Flores’ strong three-game performance came after eight days off because of a hand injury that kept her out of a two-game sweep of Springtown in the bi-district round.
The Bees finished with their second most wins in a season and matched their second deepest playoff run. Among the seniors lost are Nadine Arredondo, who set a single-season school record with 12 home runs, and Shaffer, who is second only to Arredondo on the school’s career homers list.
Photos courtesy DR. CHET MARTIN