BY RUSSELL HUFFMAN
Mogan DiCiccio’s RBI single was all the Honeybees needed but for assurance purposes, Stephenville added one more run to take a 2-0 victory for a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three Area playoff series against the Graham Lady Blues at Bowie High School Thursday.
Plainly put neither team could muster much offense due to the dominating pitching at hand. Graham’s sophomore Emma Southerland was smothering with 13 strikeouts but it was the patience of Stephenville batters that eventually led to the victory. The Honeybees often made it a full count before they went down and fouled off pitches caused Southerland’s pitch count to soar up to 121.
The Honeybee’s Julia Flores surrendered three hits to Southerland’s two while striking out eight. The big difference being Flores pitched a full seven innings with a count of just 96 pitches with 16 of those coming as first-pitch strikes. Southerland also pitched one less inning making Flores’ numbers even shinier.
Neither pitcher was feeling charitable as Flores issued only two free passes while Southerland gave up four and Stephenville was able to take advantage.
“Like I said before we started this series,” Coach Rus Mayes said. “I expected this to be a highly-competitive series and the team making the least amount of mistakes has the advantage.”
That advantage came when Skye Gaitan hit a hard grounder that was bobbled and she beat the throw to first base. Katie McIrvin came in a substitute runner which opened up the door for a slamming single from DiCiccio that pushed McIrvin across home plate a 1-0 lead.
Flores then pounded the ball to the shortstop who couldn’t handle the ball out of the dirt and DiCiccio sped for home and the final 2-0 tally.
The Honeybees left a runner on board in the first inning and lost a golden opportunity when the bases were loaded in the bottom of the fourth inning when Flores, Luna and Garcia loaded the bases via walks.
“We missed a chance there to get a run or two,” Mayes said. “Then we bounced right back the next inning and took the lead.”
Stephenville most underrated asset may be its dugout and the noise and chanting that comes out of it.
The dugout often chants little lines like, “You got a piece of it but we want all of it.”
“Often” as in constantly with bats clanging against other or an overturned five-gallon bucket being turned into a drum. Yes, the Honeybees have their own rhythm section and the beat is designed to get into their opponent’s heads.
Ah Yes, The Disorderly Duggies,” Mayes laughs. “It’s not uncommon for me to hear comments from the opponent’s third baseman throughout the game about it.”
Those comments mean the “Duggies” are playing their role of getting inside their opponent’s heads and at the same time they are involved in the game every swing of the bat. Several coaches have commended Mayes for his dugout’s rowdiness while at the same time telling him how much they despise it at the same time.
“They are a HUGE part of what we do! We have preached it all year that they set the tone for the entire game,” Mayes said. “It’s no accident when the Duggies are blowing up it gives us the advantage.”
The beat goes on Friday at 7 p.m. in Jacksboro as the teams square off for game two.
“I have talked with the staff in Jacksboro and they hand assured me everything will be good to go,” Mayes said.
2B: Morgan DiCiccio
TB: Morgan DiCiccio 2, Skye Gaitan
RBI: Morgan DiCiccio
SAC: Kristen Pettit
ROE: Morgan DiCiccio, Julia Flores