ANNA — Aubrey’s Lady Chaparrals jumped out to 3-0 first-inning lead then benefited from Anna errors to stretch their advantage on the way to a 7-4 win on April 7 at the Anna Sports Complex. The Lady Coyotes, though, winless in district play, didn’t go quietly, rallying for three runs in the seventh on Hannah Howell’s home-run blast to left-center.

“We were down by six and I was, like, you know, just have fun,” Howell said. “That’s where I’m at at this point. I’m just trying to go out there and play the game I love. I wasn’t looking for a certain pitch. Actually, if you look at the pitch before, I swung at a change-up, way out of the zone. I don’t know, I just saw something I liked and I went for it.”

“They showed some heart right there,” Anna head coach Lindsey Lacy said, “but we had that one breakdown-inning with back-to-back errors and they scored two on that. … It just goes back to the mental game and talking to yourself. We always try to tell the girls, ‘OK, if the ball is hit to me, this is what I’m going to do.’ I just feel like we kind of break down on some of that stuff.”

Jessica Steinhoff’s two-run homer in first inning got things rolling for the Lady Chaps. Anna responded in the third, down 3-0, with a single up the middle by Howell which brought home Brown-Littleton. Errors then cost the Lady Coyotes in the fifth as Aubrey boosted its lead to 6-1.

Run production has been low of late for Anna, so Howell’s shot over the fence was a welcome change.

“We’re getting on base,” Lacy said. “That’s not the problem. We’re just not getting the big hit or the timely hit. When we do get people on base, we’re not putting the ball in play and making them get us out. That’s the biggest thing that we try to stress to them, at least put the ball in play, make them have to throw the ball across. … We just keep falling short on little stuff like that.”

Grace Price pitched a complete game for Anna, allowing just three earned runs as the Lady Coyotes posted four. Laney Roos went the whole way on the mound for Aubrey.

“We were definitely hitting her,” Howell said. “Maybe they weren’t going where we wanted them to. … We’ve just got to clean up the errors.”

“I’m glad that we scored early, had the big home run from Jessica early,” Aubrey head coach Shon Ranton said. “During the middle innings we were able to use the short game to get a few runs home, which really paid off in the end. It gave us that cushion going into the bottom of the seventh. … Hannah’s a good hitter, that’s definitely true.”

With two games left, Aubrey (5-3) is in the heart of the playoff race, tucked in just behind Celina and Melissa.

“Today really helped us.” Ranton said. “If we win out, great. If we win another one, that’s great too. I think today was really big.”

Lady Coyotes fall to Princeton

Princeton’s Lady Panthers topped Anna, 5-1, on April 4 at the Anna Sports Complex, moving the Lady Coyotes’ district record to 0-7, with three games left to play. Hannah Howell pitched six innings for Anna, striking out five. Lady Panther starting pitcher Katy Wilson struck out four in six innings of work as well. Cameron Wilson had a game-high four hits for Princeton.

The Lady Panthers (3-4) broke open a 1-1 game in the fifth inning with two runs, followed by two more over the last two frames.