WYLIE — On a night when Melissa’s Lady Cardinals saw a teammate go down with a serious injury then had to stave off a late rally, the team prevailed, 4-3, over Caddo Mills in the Class 4A Region II bi-district playoffs. This Lady Cards victory on Thursday, April 26, at Wylie East High School featured another stellar outing by pitcher Alexis Pevehouse as well as multiple defensive gems and timely hitting from the Lady Cards.

Melissa, the No. 3 seed from District 11-4A, now owns a 16-8 record and will face Decatur in the area round next week at Prosper High School — date not yet known. The Lady Foxes, District 12-4A’s second seed, finished the season at 16-7.

Pevehouse hurled a complete-game three-hitter, collecting 12 strikeouts and walking one. She retired the first nine batters she faced, striking out the side in the second and third innings. “I felt like my curve was pretty good,” Pevehouse said. “I was starting on the very corner and breaking it off on an 0-2 count. And my rise was pretty good. … I was really confident in the circle.”

Caddo Mills pitcher Lillie Cook struck out eight and walked two, also in a complete-game performance.

Several Lady Cards fueled Melissa’s stout 11-hit attack. Savannah Rodriguez went 2-for-3 with a double, netting two RBI and a run scored. Pevehouse went 3-for-4 with two doubles and she crossed home plate twice. Sally Clemmons tallied a 3-for-3 game with an RBI, Jaclyn Rodgers went 2-for-3 with a run and Audrey Solomon posted an RBI.

The Lady Cards’ defense, showing some cracks versus Bonham in the district’s second-place tiebreaker, bounced back with huge stops this night. “Early on, ‘Pevey’ was mowing everybody down,” Melissa head coach Eric Rodgers said, “but then as the game went on — though ‘Pevey’ was still doing great — when we needed the defense they were there every time.”

The Lady Cards broke on top, 2-0, in the third inning on back-to-back two-out doubles from Pevehouse and Rodriguez and a Clemmons RBI-single. Caddo Mills had something going in the fourth with a lead-off single to left, their first hit of the game. But after a pair of Pevehouse Ks, Melissa second baseman Maggie Rodgers ended the threat by diving behind first for a grounder then, while still seated, throwing out the runner by half a step.

The Lady Foxes picked up a lone run in the fifth when an errant throw back to Pevehouse rolled into shallow center and a runner raced home from third. Melissa quickly answered in the bottom of the fifth with Pevehouse’s second two-bagger and a Rodriguez single, boosting the lead to 3-1. Pevehouse had aggressively stretched her center field fly into a double by charging past first base and diving head-first into second just ahead of the tag.

“That was awesome,” Rodgers said. “She has to do that on her own. By the time a coach says, ‘go,’ it’s too late. That’s just instinct.” Rodgers added that he was proud of Rodriguez for her recovery at the plate. “Her first at-bat didn’t look very good. But she did an amazing job not letting it bother her and coming back and getting that first RBI.” Said Rodriguez, “I struck out the first time, but after that I was just keeping my mind settled and not paying attention to their fans — just doing me.”

In Caddo Mills’ sixth, shortstop Rodriguez’ rope-throw to first for a bang-bang play nailed out 1 in the 1-2-3 half-inning. In the bottom of the sixth, things would start to turn ominous for Melissa. After consecutive singles from Jaclyn Rodgers and Maggie Rodgers, lead-off hitter Brakebill sacrifice-bunted them along to second and third. It was Solomon’s deep fly ball to right that then sent Jaclyn home after tagging up — but as she took a big last step onto home plate for Melissa’s fourth run, her ankle appeared to give way and she collapsed and fell, face-down and motionless. Trainers, coaches and officials from both schools, as well as family members, rushed to Jaclyn’s aid. Almost immediately, a 911 call went out and the field was cleared. Caddo Mills players huddled together in left field as the Lady Cards watched anxiously from their first-base dugout. Melissa trainer Barri Mulkey and others tended to Jaclyn until paramedics arrived.

After nearly half an hour, she was wheeled from the field on a stretcher, smiling, as all in attendance applauded.

When play resumed, the Lady Foxes quickly recorded the third out and Caddo Mills was down to, potentially, its last at-bat of the season. Pevehouse got the Lady Foxes’ seventh-inning lead-off batter to ground-out but a walk to pitcher Cook followed. And that’s when another most-unexpected thing happened: Caddo Mills’ Marlie Meek jacked a two-run homer over the right-center field fence and things suddenly got dicey for the already shaken Lady Cards.

Melissa still led though, 4-3, and with one out, Pevehouse bore down. She fanned the next batter on five pitches then scooped up a bunt and fired the ball to Maggie Rodgers covering at first to end the game. “I got angry but in a good way,” Pevehouse said of the home run. “I kind of started throwing harder and I was throwing better pitches, so that helped. … My stomach was a little upset after seeing Jaclyn get hurt and knowing that we were so close to winning. It was just really crazy.”

Said Coach Rodgers of the two-run shot, “I told the girls, ‘Alright, I get it. You wanted to make sure Jaclyn’s run was the game-winner.’ … She’s going to be OK. Don’t get me wrong, she’s going to be in a cast for a while, but she’s a tough kid. She’s a real tough kid.

“It’s been a long year and these girls have fought so hard,” he said. “We’ve had ups and downs — more ups than downs. I’m so proud of them. The entire game, top to bottom, I couldn’t have asked for a better game.”