Doege stymies Tigers in 28-5A second-place game
East Central faced Corpus Christi Carroll for a third time this season Monday. So, Hornets coach Megan McCutcheon decided to change things up.
It worked like a charm.
Senior Taylor Doege made the start in the pitcher’s circle for the District 28-5A second-place tiebreaker. Doege pitched a three-hit shutout against Carroll as the Hornets (23-6) won 3-0 at the Victoria Complex in Victoria.
Both teams finished the district season with 7-3 records. The Hornets defeated the Tigers 3-2 March 11 in San Antonio. Carroll (22-6) won the rematch 1-0 April 4 in Corpus Christi.
“Carroll had seen Madison Strunk twice,” the first-year East Central coach said, referring to the Hornets
junior. “She pitched both district games. I thought a different look would benefit us. I’m so fortunate to have that depth.”
Doege won the anticipated pitcher’s duel with Tigers freshman standout Hannah Mayo.
“Taylor seemed to be making adjustments on the rotations I called,” McCutcheon said, “and was very successful at changing speeds.
“We knew going into this game Carroll was a hard-hitting team. We expected the ball to be put in play. Our defense was ready for it. “
Mayo kept East Central scoreless through the first 2 2/3 innings.
“Hannah Mayo is the real deal,” McCutcheon said. “She hits her spots really well. This is the third time we’ve seen her, so we knew what adjustments needed to be made and the kids were real successful in making those adjustments.”
With two out in the third, Hornets shortstop Haydi Bugarin blasted a triple.
“It was a line shot to center field,” McCutcheon said. “It was definitely a clutch hit at the right time. We had somebody on second. Haydi hit the ball in the gap and scored her.”
The Hornets also pushed runs across with two outs in the fourth inning. They scored twice, increasing their lead to three.
Hailey Reynolds got things started when she was hit by a pitch. Angel Lopez then was safe on an error. Chelsea Taylor laid down a sacrifice bunt, advancing both runners but accounted for East Central’s second out.
A walk to Cara Johnson loaded the bases and East Central capitalized. Hornets freshman Kendall Talley, who returned from an injury-related absence of more than two weeks, was safe on another error.
With East Central ahead 2-0, Alexis Macias forced in the third run by drawing a base on balls.
“I definitely think we had a better focus this time after losing to them 1-0 (April 4),” McCutcheon said. “It was almost like we were hoping somebody was going to take care of it (last time).
“I told the girls going into it that this time they had to take care of it themselves. That big push we made with two outs, I think, was the girls knowing it was their time to make it happen.”
East Central begins a bi-district playoff series against Taft (18-8) Thursday with a 7 p.m. game on its home field. The Hornets travel to Northside Field No. 1 for a 7 p.m. game Friday, in which the Raiders will be considered the home team. The decisiive game of the best-of-three series is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Villarreal Field No. 1 in the SAISD Complex.
The Hornets will be the home team for that game, if it’s necessary, as a result of McCutcheon’s success in the coin flips.
“I was riding ‘heads’ all night,” she said.
Carrying a three-game winning streak that includes forcing a second-place tie in 28-5A and then seizing second, the Hornets also seem to be holding a hot hand.
“We had one scouting report on Taft,” McCutcheon said. “From what I can see, they’re going to put the ball in play. We need to be on our toes.
“I think the thing we need to do (offensively), is to step in the (batter’s) box ready to knock the cover off the ball. That was our attitude last night. We weren’t being surprised by a pitch on the plate.”