MARBLE FALLS — To Marble Falls High School head softball coach David Orsag, the Lady Mustangs 4-2 win against Pflugerville Hendrickson came down to executing the most basic of Orsag’s strategies – laying down the bunt.
“It’s what I’ve been telling them all year,” he said. “Lay down the bunt, and good things can happen.”
It happened in the fifth inning after the Lady Mustangs (6-19, 2-3 in District 25-4A) gave up two unearned runs.
Junior Payton Peril, one of the team’s power hitters, led off with a bunt. Her speed forced the infielder to make a bad throw to first, allowing Peril to reach.
“We had to take a chance at getting a base runner,” Orsag said. “We tried to utilize her speed to see if it would work.”
Junior Allison Bendas singled to right field, allowing Peril to advance to third. Freshman Alicia Macias recorded the RBI, reducing the Hendrickson lead to 2-1.
Until then Hendrickson pitcher Ashley Elicerio shut down the Marble Falls batters. She forced three up, three down in the first four innings highlighted by striking out seven of the first eight batters she faced, eight of the 12 in the four innings.
And even though Elicerio forced the next three batters to hit into routine groundouts, the Lady Mustangs were no longer fazed.
Marble Falls took the lead in the sixth.
Junior Mattie Counts led off with an infield single. Freshman Hailey Wooten singled to right-center field. An error allowed junior Shannon Bendas to reach first and earn the RBI. Peril hit an RBI single. Allison Bendas recorded an RBI, giving the Lady Mustangs a 4-2 advantage.
Orsag couldn’t have been happier to end a four-game losing streak to Hendrickson.
“It was a big game,” he said. “Realistically now we’re looking at second or third (in district).”
Pitcher Peril earned the win, throwing all seven innings. Though she recorded only one strikeout and one hit by a pitch, she relied on her teammates to make routine outs.
“We were going to pitch Payton,” Orsag said. “She came in and did well. She made them hit groundouts.”
Junior catcher Mackinzee Mayfield threw out two runners trying to steal bases, one to third baseman Wooten and the other to shortstop Shannon Bendas at second.
Ironically that’s how the game ended.
After a 6-3 out, the Lady Hawks recorded an infield single. After a popup to Mayfield, the next batter singled to right field, allowing the runner to go to second.
But instead of stopping, she kept running to third.
Lady Stang right fielder Abbe Henry saw her run and threw to Wooten, who caught the ball in plenty of time to tag the runner before she slid.
Hendrickson’s lone runs came on back-to-back errors after the Lady Mustangs recorded two outs.
Elicero (3-2) was credited with the loss. In five innings, she gave up three hits and four unearned runs.
Now the Lady Mustangs can enjoy the Easter holiday and prepare for the second round of district play, which begins 7 p.m. Tuesday against Lake Travis at Scearce Softball Field, 2101 Mustang Drive.
“The next three games are real important,” he said. “The win puts us back in it.”