Brownwood's overall record climbs to 20-2

The Brownwood Lady Lions staved off a rally by the Big Spring Lady Steers to remain undefeated in District 5-4A softball action, stretch their win streak to 10 games and notch their 20th victory of the season, 5-4 Friday afternoon.

The Lady Lions (20-2, 3-0) jumped out to a 5-1 lead through four innings, but a pair of Brownwood errors allowed three Big Spring (14-11, 2-2) runs to cross the plate and trim the deficit to a single run. Still, the Lady Lions maintained their advantage as well as their hold on the top spot in the 5-4A standings.

“We’ve been fighting all year,” said Lady Lions head coach Jessica Lynn. “We’ve gotten down in games and we know how to fight back. We did it a lot last year, too. That’s nothing these girls aren’t used to.”

A year ago at this time, the Lady Lions were winless in district yet still reached the state tournament. Now the Lady Lions are looking down from the top of the 5-4A standings through three games. “It feels a lot better,” Lynn said. “There’s not so much stress to get a win. But at the same time we have yet to play our best ball in district. We still have a lot of stuff to work on before the next game. We’re always a work in progress, we still have a goal and we’re going to keep working toward that.”

Chyanne Ellett picked up the victory in the circle, allowing one earned run on eight hits and three walks with 10 strikeouts. Ellett’s solo home run over the left field wall with two outs in the bottom of the fourth also proved to be the difference in the contest.

“Chyanne didn’t have her best stuff today, but good pitchers find ways to win when they don’t have their best stuff, and she helped herself,” Lynn said. “She put the ball in play today and our defense made plays the majority of the time and got the win.”

Clinging to a 5-4 lead in the top of the sixth inning, Ellett retired Jaci Aguilar on a line out to first baseman JaKobee Holloway and Mariah Sarmiento on a strikeout before a single to left field. But Ashley Gonzales grounded out to Annie Gillispie at second base to end the threat.

In the seventh, Ellett fanned Alexis Starr then walked a batter, but retired Cierra Martinez on a pop up in foul territory caught by catcher Ashlynn Patteson and a line drive by Kamri Kemper to Danyelle Gongora in left field.

Brownwood took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a bases-loaded walk by Emily Perez, which brought home Gillispie, who reached on a bunt single.

After Big Spring pulled even at 1 in the top of the third on an RBI infield single by Gonzales, the Lady Lions fired back with three runs in the bottom of the inning.

“Against a good team, it’s always important that when they scratch a run across you answer,” Lynn said. “You don’t want to let a good team get ahead of you.”

Ellett was hit by a pitch to start the inning then Victoria Sanchez singled ahead of an RBI single to right field by Perez that scored Ryleigh Dalleh, running for Ellett. Alexis Larrea and Patteson chipped in RBI ground outs that scored Sanchez and Perez to extend the lead to 4-1.

In the fourth inning, Ellett launched a two-out, 2-2 pitch off Yzzy Soliz over the left field wall to push the advantage to four runs — and Brownwood needed every one.

With two outs in the top of the fifth, Cierra Martinez reached on a two-out dropped pop up in the infield that allowed Gonzales, who walked, and Starr, who reached on an earlier miscue in the inning, to score and close the gap to 5-3. Kemper then singled home Martinez before Ellett escaped the inning when Soliz lined out to Perez in right field.

“We fell asleep a little bit on defense and made some uncharacteristic mistakes, but we were able to keep the lead,” Lynn said. “We told them with a one-run lead we were going to have to come out and play our best and make all the routine plays, and that’s what we did.”

The Lady Lions — who are off until 5 p.m. Friday at Snyder (12-13 0-3), which suffered a 19-7 loss to Sweetwater Friday — finished with seven hits. Ellett homered and singled, Ayanna Clemons chipped in two singles and Sanchez, Perez and Patteson added one hit apiece.