Playoff Run Ends For Lady Pirates In Loss To Keller
Making the playoffs is nothing new for the Lady Pirates from Wylie High School. They have made the postseason tournament every year since the program was started in 1995, that is 24 straight seasons if you are counting. This team took it a step further and accomplished something no other softball team from the program has done by making it to the fourth round of the playoffs in the Regional Semifinals. The Lady Pirates lost a hard fought game to Keller 5-3 but can hold their heads high knowing they were one of the last 16 teams standing in the state for 6A.
Keller, who has won back to back state championships the last two years and is ranked in the top five in the nation according to USA Today, was no easy match up for Wylie. The Indians showed they were deserving of their ranking by jumping out to a 5-0 lead over the Lady Pirates in the first two innings. With a loud and overflowing crowd and a seemingly insurmountable lead Keller looked to cruise the win. Wylie, led by head coach Heather Damron, showed their grit by refusing to allow the game to slip away without a fight and began chipping away at the lead in the middle innings.
A single by Isabella Dayton started a rally for Wylie in the third and Dayton came around to score the first run of the game for the Lady Pirates on an RBI single from Skyler Shaw. Wylie added another run in the fourth to close the gap to 5-2 when Alex Guillory reached on a single and eventually scored on a single from Dayton. Pitcher Annie Gunther and the defense held the potent Keller offense in check as Wylie continued to chip away at the lead. In the fifth inning Rylen Wiggins reached base on a double and scored easily when Averie Gunther belted a double to left field to make the score 5-3. That was as close as Wylie would get despite continued chances in the last two innings. Coach Damron praised her teams refusal to quit by saying "the expectation of the team is we won't let up until the last out." That belief was apparent as Wylie pushed Keller to the brink in the final inning with the tying run reaching base with one out but the Indians were able to secure the win and advance to the Regional Finals. The offense from Wylie notched 11 hits but were unable to put together the big inning leaving 11 runners on base in the game. Another strong performance in the field was led by Rylen Wiggins at short stop and the entire outfield of Ashling Shahan, Isabella Dayton and Skler Shaw. Wiggins had several spectacular plays including starting a double play and Shahan made two diving catches in left field. Dayton and Shaw contributed to the defensive effort by erasing runners on the bases. Shaw threw out a runner at second and Dayton got a crucial out for Wylie throwing out at a runner at home with Alexis Perry applying the tag.
After the game Coach Damron mentioned "Our theme this year was Leave No Doubt, these girls bought into that and believed in each other all season. We lost the game but we played with them." When asked what she told the team after the game an emotional Damron said "Leave No Doubt is a call to action, and the call to action was to go make memories. I told them to think of all the memories they made in this game alone and those from the 30+ games they played this season. Those are memories they will carry with them to college and beyond." Wylie will graduate four seniors this season, Ashling Shahan, Alexis Perry, Sierra Mixter and Brittney White. Damron noted" The seniors have grown as young women and leaders, I could not have asked for better examples for our younger players. The seniors embraced the culture of our program and what we stood for as a team. They will be missed." The Lady Pirates will return seven starters next year and will look to build on this history making season in 2018-2019.