PARIS – A diving catch in foul territory clinched another series sweep, sending Whitesboro to the regional finals.
The Lady Cat softball team swept Queen City with a pair of 2-1 wins Thursday and Friday in the regional semifinals at Paris High School.
No. 4 Whitesboro (34-4-2) will face No. 9 Emory Rains, a team which won a state championship two years ago, in the Class 3A Region II finals with the Lady Cats’ first-ever trip to the state tournament on the line.
Queen City (30-9-1) gave Whitesboro its toughest challenge of the playoffs but fell short in two pitcher’s duels.
Avery Howerton pitched all 14 innings of the series for the Lady Cats. She allowed a combined two runs on nine hits and four walks while collecting 12 strikeouts. In both games, Queen City didn’t score until the seventh inning.
Whitesboro scored the first run of the series in the third inning of game one when Olivia Hildebrand hit an RBI single, scoring Bradi Gallaway. Maci Graves made it 2-0 in the sixth when her RBI single scored Tylar Olsen. A one-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh by Queen City made it 2-1, but Howerton retired the next two hitters to finish the game.
In game two, the Lady Cats did all their scoring in the first inning. Melanie Baldwin drove in Gallaway with an RBI double, then scored when Hildebrand singled during the next at-bat.
The score remained 2-0 until the Lady Bulldogs hit an RBI single with two outs in the seventh. The next hitter popped the ball up in foul territory down the third base line. Olsen, playing third, dove for it and snatched it out of the air just before it hit the ground to end the series and send the Lady Cats to the fifth round.
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