CORPUS CHRISTI — In a one-game playoff, anything can happen. And on a night where runs came at a minimum, the Harlingen South Lady Hawks still had some playoff magic in their back pockets.
Kytana Muniz scored the go-ahead run on an errant throw from the shortstop giving South a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh. A lead South would not surrender as the Lady Hawks’ playoff ride will continue into the regional quarterfinals after a 3-2 area-round win over Laredo United on Friday at Cabaniss Field in Corpus Christi.
Resiliency was the word Lady Hawks coach Elias Martinez used to describe his young club. After a game-tying home run from Laredo United in the bottom of the sixth inning, junior pitcher Daisy Gallegos kept her cool and limited the damage to just one run.
“She is a work horse,” said Martinez of Gallegos. “She pitched a heck of a game for us. In big games we give the ball to her; she is tough. This is 6A varsity softball at its best and I told the kids that each week it will get tougher, and I thought our kids passed with flying colors.”
Gallegos took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. But with two outs, United’s Evelyn Gonzalez tied the game at 2 with her solo jack, which was Gallegos’s only blemish on the night as the junior went the distance, striking out four and scattering four hits.
“I trust my defense; I knew they would make plays when I needed them to,” Gallegos said. “I just kept my head in the game. Coach always tells us that this game is about mental toughness and we showed that toughness tonight. Tonight was huge. We lost to them (United) earlier this season and I wanted revenge tonight, and we got it.”
After two scoreless innings, Kaitlynn De La Fuente gave South a 1-0 lead on an RBI single. United answered back, however, tying the game at 1 in the bottom half of the third. The Lady Horns squeaked in the tying run on a miscommunication between the Lady Hawks infield.
South, once again, showed its resiliency. With two down in the top of the sixth inning, Kelsey Rivera laced in an RBI triple down the first-base line to put the Lady Green Birds back on top at 2-1.
Rivera finished the night 2 for 3 with a triple and a single.
In just his second year at South, Martinez has the Lady Hawks in the regional quarterfinal for the first time since the 2013 season when South made it to the regional semifinals.
“I’m so proud of the girls. Tonight was all about them,” Martinez said. “Hey, we’re excited we get to play softball for at least one more week.”
The Lady Hawks will face either San Benito or South San Antonio in the third round.