by RAFAEL MARQUEZ
It was a night of pitching dominance as Hays High pitcher Sarah Leal pitched a perfect game against the Lehman Lady Lobos. The game ended in four and a half innings because of the ten-run rule, with Hays beating Lehman 11-0.
The Lady Rebels came into their first District 27-4A game ranked #17 in the latest statewide poll and with an 11-1-1 record.
During Lehman’s first at bat, it was a quick three up and three down. Leal struck out centerfielder Jess Gonzalez, first baseman Loren Pizzini and second baseman Alexis Trotter.
In their first turn at bat, Hays struggled against Lehman’s pitcher Angel Cruz. Despite that, second baseman Addie Vayas hit a double and centerfielder Hannah Ramsey a single. But the Lady Rebels were not able to convert and both runners were left on base.
At Lehman’s next at-bat, third baseman Jules Hernandez popped a fly out, rightfielder Irene Maldonado struck out and shortstop Aleza Ruiz hit a ground ball and was thrown out at first.
During Hays’ second inning, at-bats, rightfielder Brayden Pinckard walked and immediately stole second base. Third baseman Karina Rocha was walked as well, followed by Leal, who hit a grounder to the Lehman shortstop. Pinckard was thrown out en route to third.
Up next, Hays’ DP Ashley Manning hit a single, but Rocha was thrown out at third as she advanced through the bases.
Continuing at bat during the second inning, Hays’ shortstop Maddy Shannon hit a choppy ball that bounced off the Lehman shortstop’s glove and into center field. By the time Lehman gained control of the ball, Des’Ree Wainright, who was running for Leal, ran home and scored Hays’ first run. Hays would close out the inning with two runners left on base.
To open the third inning, Lehman sent up leftfielder Megin Soliz and Cruz, striking out. Lehman catcher Kynslee Noriega hit a ground ball and was thrown out at first base.
Hays would score eight runs during their turn at bat for this inning.
First, Ramsey walked, followed by first baseman Clarissa Gonzalez, who hit a single line drive down the first base line pushing Ramsey to third base. Catcher Haleigh Madden then hit a line drive double over the head of the Lehman shortstop bringing Ramsey and Gonzalez home.
Up next, Pinckard sacrificed at first, allowing Madden to advance to third. Karina Rocha was up next, but her drive hit Madden’s feet as Madden was advancing from third to home. Madden was ruled out, but Rocha was now on base.
With two outs on the board, Leal was up next for Hays, hitting a slow ball towards second base. Rocha slid into second and was ruled safe on a call that was jeered by Lehman fans. Rocha scored on a double from Manning. Wainright, designated runner for Leal, and Manning scored off a triple by Shannon.
Shannon scored off a single by Vayas that hit Leh-man pitcher Cruz’s glove and slowly rolled away. Cruz made little effort to recover the ball, leaving second baseman Trotter to come up and get the ball back in play. Ramsey, back at the plate in rotation, was walked, now giving two Hays players on base.
Clarissa Gonzalez capitalized for Hays by hitting a triple down the third base line, bringing in two Hays runners. Hays turn at bat ended when Madden was thrown out at first. At the bottom of the third, it was Hays 9, Lehman 0.
To start off the fourth inning, Lehman’s Gonzalez was thrown out at first. Next, Pizzini hit a fly ball into foul territory just short of first base that was caught. Finally, Trotter came to bat and struck out.
Felicia Villarreal started off the fourth inning as the new Lehman pitcher. She would first face off against Pinckard, who hit the ball towards the Lehman shortstop. The throw to first was bad, and Pinckard ended up with a double. Next up, Karina Rocha hit a homerun.
The score stood at Hays 11, Lehman 0 at the bottom of the fourth.
Lehman sent up Hernandez, then Maldonado, then Ruiz. Unfortunately, they could not produce any offense and the game was called for Hays.
Hays head coach Aaron Fuller said at the end of the game, “When your pitcher throws a perfect game and your defense plays a great game behind her, you’re probably going to win.”
Hays will next play a tournament in Georgetown this weekend. The Lady Rebels will be away at Kerrville Tivy March 5. Lehman plays inFloresvill Feb. 28 and at Boerne Champion March 5.