MELISSA — Melissa’s Lady Cardinals swept to three straight wins — two by shutout — before dropping the finale game in the Grayson Collin Electric Cooperative Lady Panther Classic, March 1-3, at the Melissa Sports Facility. The showing sent the Lady Cards’ season record to 8-3 with district play starting March 13. Below are details of Melissa’s four tourney games in order.
Lady Cards 15, Van Alstyne 0
After two tough losses just before this tournament, Melissa got back on track Thursday morning with a run-rule rout of Class 3A Van Alstyne.
“We needed it,” Lady Cards head coach Eric Rodgers said. “You get a couple of losses and the girls feel like we’re not playing as well. But those were two very good teams [Decatur, Frisco Heritage] and those are two games that are going to prepare us for where we need to be in the future.”
Melissa opened with two runs in the first and four more in the second before ending the contest with nine in the third.
“We just kept getting a little better and better,” Rodgers said, “and in that third inning we kind of had an offensive explosion. We made the adjustments we needed and we made the adjustments quicker. I was proud of them for doing what we needed to do.”
In a 14-hit barrage, Anna Fortenberry and Alexis Pevehouse each logged home runs for Melissa while half-dozen Lady Cards slapped doubles, including Pevehouse, Audrey Solomon, Kylee Brakebill, Savannah Rodriguez, Maggie Rodgers and Macy Stewart. Fortenberry and Stewart posted triples as well.
Pevehouse went 3-for-3 at the plate with five RBI while Fortenberry had a 2-for-3 day with three RBI. Other RBI collectors were Stewart and Rodriguez, with two apiece, and Brakebill, Solomon and Sally Clemmons, with one each. Clemmons and Rodriguez both went 2-for-2 with the bat.
In the circle, Pevehouse worked all three innings, striking out seven and allowing no hits with one walk.
Lady Cards 4, Bells 2
On Friday morning, Melissa beat back the Class 2A defending state champion Bells Lady Panthers with strong pitching and opportune hits. Brakebill led the Lady Cards with two RBI, going 2-for-2 at the plate. Pevehouse also went 2-for-2 with a double and Rodriguez smacked a double as well. Pevehouse pitched all five innings in this time-limited match-up, allowing five hits and striking out eight with two walks.
“I was very, very proud of the way we played,” Rodgers said. “Bells was at full-strength today. They had their pitcher back and the shortstop was back. They were at full strength for probably the first time all year. I can’t say enough about what Pevehouse was doing in the circle. And the timely hitting is really what we needed.”
With the Lady Panthers up, 1-0, after a half-inning, Pevehouse opened the bottom of the first with a double to centerfield. Brakebill walked and, two outs later, Fortenberry’s sharp single to right brought Pevehouse home for the tying run. The Lady Cards moved ahead with two more in the second, a push started by consecutive singles from Stewart and Clemmons. Brakebill followed with her two-run fly ball just past the short stop’s reach and Melissa led, 3-1.
Bells crept back with a run in the third on a sac fly to center but the Lady Cards replied in the fourth. With two outs in that frame, Solomon singled to right moving Pevehouse to third and Brakebill to second. Pevehouse came home for a 4-2 Melissa lead when Rodriguez hit into a fielder’s choice.
In the fifth, both teams went down in order as time expired.
In keeping with Rodgers’ refrain that the Lady Cards likely win when they get to three runs, they got that this time — plus one.
“Bells is good,” Rodgers said. “They’ve got a good coach. They graduated a few but they’re still good. I’m a fan of theirs. I enjoyed watching them last year. Hopefully, we can make a playoff run like that.”
Lady Cards 5, Pottsboro 0
The Lady Cards blanked Class 3A Pottsboro in Friday’s second game, cruising to 13 hits in the nearly seven-inning contest as Pevehouse struck out 10 and walked none. Solomon and Fortenberry both erupted for three hits each in four at-bats.
Fortenberry’s RBI double to the left side capped a 3-0 push by Melissa in the first inning. Earlier Solomon had singled home Pevehouse from second and Brakebill had scored on Rodriguez’ groundout to second. The Lady Cards went up, 4-0, in the second inning after Clemmons bunted aboard then raced home on Pevehouse’s sacrifice fly to right field.
In the sixth, Fortenberry closed out the scoring with a single toward third base that sent Brakebill home.
Fort Smith Southside 16, Lady Cards 10
In a hit-fest on Saturday, Melissa was slowed by four errors and came up short versus the Lady Mavericks. The teams combined for 23 hits with the Lady Cards posting 14 — and it started fast. Southside jumped to a 7-4 lead after one inning then kept the pressure on, 9-6, over the rest of the time-limited nearly four-frame contest.
Solomon and Fortenberry led Melissa with 3-for-3 showings at the plate. Fortenberry tallied a team-high three RBI with a double while Solomon blasted a homer and logged two RBI. Solomon, Rodriguez and Maggie Rodgers also posted a double each for the Lady Cards and Stewart blasted a triple. Solomon, Rodgers and Stewart had two RBI each. Southside countered with four doubles, a triple and a home run.
Pevehouse worked the four innings, striking out six and allowing nine hits with five walks.
Down, 7-0, before they picked up a bat, the Lady Cards rallied for four runs in the bottom of the first. Fortenberry slapped a one-out, first-pitch single for Melissa’s first two runs then Rodgers’ double to left scored two more. The Lady Mavs would get out of the inning with a ground-out and a strikeout. The teams traded runs in the third before Southside pulled away to lead, 16-6, as the sixth frame began.
The Lady Cards again pushed back with four runs, starting this time with two outs. Solomon began the move with her first-pitch solo home run and Rodriguez followed with her double to center. Fortenberry’s double was next and Melissa trailed, 16-8. After Rodgers walked, Stewart sent her two-run triple to right for the game’s final runs. And with that, time had run out.