MAGNOLIA — After suffering three consecutive losses in District 19-5A action, Magnolia finally busted back into the win column on Tuesday evening with a 15-11 home victory over crosstown rival Magnolia West.
The Lady Bulldogs (17-4, 7-4) entered the night in fourth place in the league standings, one full game behind A&M Consolidated and Waller. Magnolia suffered losses to both of those teams during a three-game skid in which it allowed 33 runs.
They Lady Bulldogs found some redemption on Tuesday.
“It feels great,” Magnolia coach Jarrod Hunter said. “We’ve been struggling lately, and it’s a hard district. We just hit that slump in district, so it’s always tough. I think coming out, having Mag West [at home], it’s Teacher Appreciation [Night], it’s good now at the end of the night to get a win.”
While the Lady Bulldogs still struggled with keeping the opposing bats at bay on Tuesday, they continued to produce at the plate themselves. They had to fight from behind in the early stages, however.
Magnolia West (9-18, 4-7) took an early lead with four runs in the top of the first inning. Liberty Herrera and Blair Rucker each came through with a run-scoring double, and Zoie Burton followed with a two-run double down the right-field line.
Magnolia got one of those runs back in the bottom of the frame as Alex Dubose drew a bases-loaded walk, but the Lady Bulldogs then stranded the remaining three runners. Magnolia added to its total in the second inning as Baylee Lemons scored on an error.
Magnolia West was able to answer right back in the top of the third as Devaney Seawright delivered a run-scoring single down the third-base line. The Lady Bulldogs then made a throwing error on the play and Rucker came across the plate for the 6-2 advantage.
“We worked on a couple things,” Magnolia West coach Jimmy Ebby said. “We had a game plan, and they kind of worked it a little bit. We fought. I told our girls, no matter what, we’re going to fight the whole time, and the whole game, they did. I was proud of them.”
Magnolia exploded in the bottom of the fame, pushing eight runs across the plate. The Lady Bulldogs scored their first run on an error, but then the bats came to life. Madison Nguyen came through with a two-run single, and Lemons followed with an RBI single of her own to knot the game at 6. Dubose then put her team ahead with a two-run double, and Reagan Creed delivered a run-scoring sacrifice fly. Gabrielle Huetter capped the massive inning with an RBI single for the 10-6 lead.
“After (Magnolia West) scored four [runs] I said, ‘Look, it’s the first inning,’” Hunter said. “I said, ‘Don’t stress, don’t panic — we’ve got seven innings to play,’ and they did a really good job. We scored one that first inning, came back and scored another in the second inning, and in the dugout, they were focused. They were like, ‘Hey, stay focused, keep chipping away, chipping away.’ I think we had the bases loaded the first three innings, and we just needed that one key hit for them to go, ‘Oh OK, we’re good.’”
Magnolia West closed the gap in the top of the fourth as Haleigh McDonald scored on a ground ball hit by Herrera and Savannah Robertson delivered an RBI single.
Magnolia fired back once again, plating three runs in the bottom of the frame with a two-run double from Jamie Holder and a run-scoring sacrifice fly from Creed. Creed blasted a two-run home run over the left-field fence in the sixth inning, giving her team the commanding 15-8 advantage.
Bailee Cano delivered a two-run single for Magnolia West in the top of the seventh, and the scoring was finally capped with a bases-loaded walk.
“They’re all pretty good hitters, even the kids that aren’t starters,” Hunter said. “They are really good at focusing on what pitchers do. After every at-bat, they’re in the dugout, talking about what they’re throwing. They’re focused when they come up to bat, and they all have the potential to do it. But on the flip side, we’ve got to start limiting some of the runs we’re giving up because we’ve allowed a ton of runs lately.”
Magnolia returns to action at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Katy Paetow. Magnolia West, meanwhile, travels to play Waller at the same time that night.