Hallettsville beats Refugio 3-1, advances to regional final
By Stephen Herzog - email@example.com
May 22, 2010 at 12:22 a.m.
In a series of two evenly-matched teams, it came down to one thing - experience.
"You can't coach that. They learned that from going through the ride last year," said Hallettsville coach Mike Mikeska about his team's win over Refugio to advance to the 2A softball regional finals.
Last year the Lady Brahmas finished second in the state. This year, they're trying to better that by a game.
They're well on their way after a 3-1 win in the final game of a three game series with Refugio in Victoria.
Hallettsville scored two runs in the top of the sixth inning to break a 1-1 tie and Lauren Steffek got the final six outs to send the Lady Brahmas into the next round.
"It was nerve-wracking," Steffek said. "But we were still up two runs, and I knew the D had my back."
The defense helped her out right away in the bottom of the sixth. Refugio's Shelby Bellows led off with a line drive to left field that was an easy double.
And with the Lady Cats behind, they took a chance and sent Bellows to third.
But Lady Brahmas left fielder Brittany Targac made a strong throw, right on the money at third to nail Bellows.
It was a big out, because Kristen Wise followed with a double that would have driven in a run.
Refugio would pick up two hits in the bottom of the seventh, but Steffek struck out Katie Bernal to end the game.
It was the end of a tough series that was well played on both sides.
"I have to give credit to Refugio," Mikeska said. "They're a very good ball team. They're the best we've faced all year."
The Lady Cats' Chelsea Lara was again making things difficult on the Hallettsville batters, but good base running and smart play overall helped them scratch out the necessary runs.
"We did a real good job on fundamentals," Mikeska said. "We've got decent speed and it helps that we can put a little pressure on the opposing team."
Neither team could get much going offensively early in the game as Lara and Steffek mostly cruised through the lineups.
But in the fourth, the Lady Brahmas drew first blood.
Kellan Werner led off with a single to center field, and a throw to first sailed to the fence, allowing Werner to advance to second.
She then took third on a wild pitch before Stephanie Butschek brought her in with a sacrifice fly.
Refugio evened it up in the fifth inning, with an unlikely source of power.
A walk and an error gave the Lady Cats runners at first and second for No. 9 hitter Michelle Rosas.
Rosas drove a pitch deep into the gap to bring home a run and tie the game.
Two ground ball outs allowed Hallettsville to escape the inning.
With the game tied up, Hallettsville bounced back in the sixth inning.
Werner led off with a single and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt.
Butschek's infield single put runners on the corner for Lauren Steffek, who hit a ground ball to second.
Refugio was playing to stop the run, but a throw home was late, and Hallettsville took the lead.
Cherise Klekar followed with a sacrifice fly to center field for the final run of the game.
Hallettsville advances to the 2A regional final to face George West. A schedule and location for that game or series has not yet been determined.
The Lady Brahmas aren't ready to think about that anyway.
"We're going to relax and enjoy this today," Mikeska said. "I'm not even thinking about George West. I've done this long enough to know that you have to take time to enjoy these things, because they don't happen that often."
2A Regional semifinal
Hallettsville 3, Refugio 1
HAL 000 102 0 - 3 7 2
REF 000 010 0 - 1 6 1
Lauren Steffek and Lindsey Steffek. Chelsea Lara and Kristen Wise. WP- La. Steffek. LP- C. Lara. Highlights: HAL - Kellan Werner 2-4, 2 R; Stephanie Butschek 2-2, R, RBI; Lauren Steffek 1-1, RBI; Cherise Klekar 1-2, RBI. REF - Shelby Bellows 2-3, 2B; Kristen Wise 1-3, 2B; Haley Brynelson 1-3, R; Michelle Rosas 1-3, 2B, RBI. Records: HAL - 25-10. REF- 24-7. Note: Hallettsville wins series 2-1, advances to face George West in regional final.