Softball notes: Ortiz tosses a gem, Lyford one win away from area

Lyford’s Evelyn Ortiz dominated the circle Thursday night as she pitched a complete-game three-hitter, allowing just two runs while striking out 13 in an 8-2 bi-district playoff series opening win against Corpus Christi London on Thursday at Lyford.

The Lady Bulldogs’ bats backed up their ace with a late five-run sixth inning that locked up the win.

“She had complete control of her pitches all night,” said Lyford coach Joey Rios of Ortiz. “She worked batters in and out. She used her off-speed (pitch) to keep them off balance and they (London) struggled to get the barrel to the ball.”

Lyford held a 3-0 advantage through five until London battled back and cut the lead to 3-1 in the top of the sixth. But the Lady Dogs’ bats woke up and pounded away for six runs in the bottom of the frame to extend their lead to 8-1.

Jerrica Rojas went 3 for 4 with two triples and two RBIs while teammate Sydney Bray and Kyndra Brown collected two hits each.

“They made a couple of pitching changes early on and they (London) did a good job on keeping us off balance,” said Rios. “We just kept swinging and everything came together for us in that sixth inning. We got our timing down and that was big for us. We got our leadoff hitter on and after that we rode that momentum for the rest of the game.”

Lyford will now hit the road for the remainder of the series with hopes of completing the sweep of London and advancing to the area round. Game 2 is set for 11:30 a.m. today at Cabaniss Filed in Corpus Christi and Game 3, if London forces it, will follow 30 minutes afterward.

If Lyford advances, the Lady Dogs will face the winner between Cotulla and Goliad next week.

“The kids have been focused all week,” said Rios. “We have veterans on this team that have been here before, and the younger kids are excited and focused. We are just focused on what’s in front of us and we will take it a game at a time.”