Sometimes it helps to have more than one good pitcher, and the Lady Bobcats proved this axiom over the weekend. With a combined effort from sophomores Myranda Hinojosa and Sammy Arciba, EHS beat Harlingen South 6-2 Friday to advance to the regional semifinals for the second straight season.
After Arciba had beaten the Lady Hawks Thursday in the opener, she and Hinojosa did the job to win the series, splitting the duties with Arciba taking over in the fourth Friday. The Lady ‘Cats were down 2-0 until Anissa Gonzalez and Brittany Davila plated runs in the third. Later, Arciba had an RBI and Davila scored on a passed ball to give the team the lead it never relinquished.
Edinburg (31-4) now faces San Antonio O'Connor in the Sweet 16, after the Lady Panthers upset the state-ranked Lady Unicorns in three games. Last year at this stage, EHS lost to SA Taft and has returned to the rare air of the late playoffs, having won 60 games in two seasons. The chance to make Valley history begins Friday in Alice with a single game and continues Saturday with a doubleheader if necessary. No Valley team has ever advanced beyond this round in softball.
First they didn't think they'd play at home Thursday, as the rains finally swept in after many moons away. Then they thought they'd never score again after putting seven runs up in the first three innings. On the second count, they did not, but luckily the seven-spot was enough to stand up for a Game One win of 7-4.
After the field survived a mid-afternoon thunderstorm, the 31-5A rivals settled in to see who would get the initial advantage for a trip to the Sweet 16. Arciba went the distance in the opener, allowing seven hits and just one bad inning, the fourth when the Lady Hawks struck for four after falling behind by a touchdown.
At the plate, EHS was consistent against Chelsie Alejandro, banging out 12 safe licks, including two each from five different kids. The early star was Gonzalez, who dinged a homer off the scoreboard in left to start a second-inning surge that netted three runs. Z Borrego was 2 for 3 with 3 RBI, while Cassandra Garcia scored twice and bunted for a single and an RBI with the bases loaded to key a four-run third.
Edinburg was ready to play while South was not. The Lady Hawks committed three errors Thursday, two in the second leading to the early deficit they never overcame.
Arciba ran into trouble in the aforementioned fourth, walking three batters, but she benefited from solid defense to rebound and finish strong.
Tori de Leon started a smart 5-4-3 double play to end the sixth, extinguishing the last good South threat. Then she took one off the chops in the seventh, regaining her senses and the ball in time to fire on to first, nipping the runner. In all, it added up to the Game One win that Banda considered of paramount importance coming in to the rematch series.
In the playoffs so far, EHS has made 50 runs in seven games, allowing 20, 10 in one game to McAllen. O'Connor defeated Carroll and San Marcos before knocking off New Braunfels in the third round. The Lady Panthers are 29-3, and hit .399 as a team with an impressive 110 extra-base hits. They've knocked 22 homers, led by senior shortstop Katy Vandewater (.463, six HR, 44 RBI).
This is an experienced senior ball club with two 1-run losses (Pearland, Santa Fe) and a defeat at the hands of Taft (7-2). Senor center fielder Taylor Vidrine leads the team with a .516 average and 32 runs scored, while senior outfielder Courtney Tietze (31 runs, 14 steals, six triples) and senior infielder Brittany Stone (39 RBI, .416) are also dangerous offensive threats. The strong-armed Vidrine has committed to St. Mary's University.
O'Connor has a pair of hurlers, like EHS. Sophomore Kenedy Urbany (18-0, 0.60 ERA, 105 strikeouts) and senior Maegan Ramirez (12-4, 1.94) are the mainstays on the mound for Coach Ann Lewis.
In the other region semi, it will be San Benito (32-3) against SA Southwest, after the Lady ‘Hounds swept Edinburg North and Southwest beat SA Johnson 3-1 Saturday. Last year San Benny beat SW in the postseason.
NOTES: The Edinburg baseball season came to an end in Alice Friday night, as Laredo United defeated the Bobcats 1-0 with a run in the seventh. EHS won 24 games this year, including a bi-district series victory over Brownsville Hanna.