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Stunned and stung Tiger softball bows out to Flour Bluff in run-rule

JOURDANTON – Identifying the ills that ended Dripping Springs’ dreams of a state tournament berth Friday was easy for Tiger head coach Wade Womack and his players to list. 

Five total home runs belted by an opportunistic and hungry Corpus Christi Flour Bluff Hornets squad ended the state-ranked Tigers’ season in a stunning 13-3 run-rule regional semifinal loss in six short frames.

Perhaps the more difficult task for Tiger players, coaches and fans was trying to make sense of it all. For a program that had been on a 20-plus game win streak and was a favorite to possibly reach state, experiencing its first run-rule loss since 2016 was practically the stuff of nightmares. 

junior Jayna Reid safely slides into second base as a Flour Bluff Hornet player secures possession of the ball.

“It’s one of those games. I didn’t imagine something like this would happen. But it did,” Womack said. “We had the (pitching) staff all year long to give us a chance to win. Today, it just wasn’t meant to be.”

Dripping Springs couldn’t quell a hard-hitting Hornet team that exacted its damage in bursts.

Tiger senior shortstop Camille Corona said Flour Bluff, which opted for a one-game, winner-take-all contest, caught Dripping Springs on an off-day. However, Corona also lauded Flour Bluff’s “tremendous hitters” who capitalized no matter what the Tigers threw at them. Dripping Springs tossed three pitchers at Hornet batters; all three conceded at least one home run in the game.

Tiger senior pitcher Logan Hulon said Hornet batters were aggressive at the plate.

Flour Bluff scored eight of its 13 total runs via a home run. That included a walk-off two-run home run from Kathryn Truitt in the bottom of the sixth inning. All home runs were hit to left field, aided by a 20-plus mile per hour gust. 

“I think today was an off day and they were on. They deserved to move on. They were the better team,” Corona said.

Initially, Dripping Springs leapt out to a 2-0 first inning lead aided by an RBI double from Ryann Campbell, along with a run-scoring single from Jayna Reid.

Womack felt the early lead could relax his team. But Womack said he soon felt the momentum start to shift Flour Bluff’s way.

Change started in the bottom of the second when Hornet Sydney Salinas belted a solo home run to cut the Tiger lead to 2-1.

Flour Bluff tied the game in the third inning, then took a 4-2 lead on a two-run home run by Truitt, who finished with two total home runs and five RBIs.

Dripping Springs got a run back on an RBI single from Bailey Hudgeons in the top of the fifth inning, which cut the Hornet advantage to 4-3. But the Tigers struggled to generate offense in key situations, especially with runners on base. The Tigers left five baserunners stranded.

Corona said Hornet pitcher Jadyn Wilson kept the ball off the plate and made it difficult for the Tigers to find consistency. Until the sixth frame, Dripping Springs led Flour Bluff 6-3 in total hits in the game. 

“Our timing was off. We kept getting hits, but they weren’t strung together. That was our downfall,” Hulon said.

Flour Bluff, however, slammed on the gas pedal and scored nine unanswered runs over the next two frames, including a seven-run sixth inning. All told, Flour Bluff scored eight of its 13 total runs via a home run.

Amid the disappointment of a season that ended sooner than expected, Womack extolled the efforts of his players who, in some cases, shattered numerous school records that “will never be broken.”

Hulon said she was “super proud” of her teammates and said her coaches played a vital role in driving them to success.

“We had an amazing career. We’re really talented and we’re really close,” Corona said. “It’s sad that we part our ways, but I think we left our mark at Dripping Springs.”

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