Facing a situation hotter than the Texas sun Saturday, Dripping Springs softball pitcher Kiele Miller and the Tiger defense stayed cool under pressure.
Stuck in a bases-loaded jam with only one out in the fifth inning, Miller and the Tigers closed the book on what was the Angleton Wildcats’ final threat in Dripping Springs’ 9-2 Game 2 victory.
The win allowed Dripping Springs to sweep an Angleton ball club that was ranked 5th in the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s Class 5A state poll.
“It’s a big win and a good win for our program,” Tiger head coach Wade Womack said.
Guiding the Tigers was Miller, who only allowed eight hits and four earned runs over the course of two games. Miller also collected 10 total strikeouts across the 14 innings she pitched in.
Womack lauded Miller’s play, along with the Tiger defense, which he said was “solid in both games.”
Miller said the defense played a huge factor in the team’s 3-2 Game 1 victory.
“Kiele, she’s our lockdown pitcher,” Tiger second baseman Camile Corona said. “Those batters couldn’t catch up with her and our defense was great.”
Timely offense also aided the Tigers in both contests. Dripping Springs, which trailed 1-0 after five innings, tallied three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to gain separation.
Womack, who said Game 1 was “one of the more exciting ball games” he’s been a part of, said executing the “little things, such as stolen bases and squeeze bunts, helped that effort.
In Game 2, Dripping Springs’ offense struck for six runs, aided by a three-run home run by Miller, who helped her own cause.
Motivation for Miller was payback against Angleton’s pitcher, who hit a home run off of her the day previous.
“Yesterday, the pitcher for their team hit a homerun off of me,” Miller said. “Today, before the home run, I was like, ‘c’mon, girl, give it to me,’ and she did and I swung as hard as I could.”
But Angleton didn’t go away and had several opportunities to orchestrate a rally off of Miller.
For Miller, focusing on the mentality of getting batters out provided motivation.
“When any girl gets three balls in an inning, my mentality is, this girl is not getting on,” Miller said. “It doesn’t matter if the bases are loaded or not loaded, your goal is to get that girl out, pitch by pitch.”
Womack felt Dripping Springs’ victory was a statement for the program. Miller said the team will continue to look at the opponent in front of them.
“We’re going to feed off of this win,” Corona said. “Austin is a great team. We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing.”