By Greg Ford
MCKINNEY — The Lady Pirates traversed a winding, twisting road through the area-round playoffs, starting first at home, then heading to Rockwall and McKinney Boyd on the same evening and then finally returning to Boyd to end everything.
All the while, they battled not only the elements, which delayed the games quite often, but also a feisty Rockwall Heath team. In the end, it was the latter that did in Wylie, defeating the Lady Pirates 7-5 at Wylie on May 8 and 8-6 on Saturday at McKinney Boyd. The Lady Pirates won the second game 6-2, a contest that started Friday at Heath, but was eventually finished at Boyd.
The season-ending defeat concludes a 2015 campaign that saw Wylie, along with many other teams, battle weather conditions (massive inches of rain) that hadn’t affected previous seasons in such a manner.
Not only did the rain, along with the accompanying elements, disrupt the playoff games, but previous storms also wiped out much of Wylie’s non-district schedule and resulted in the rescheduling of many District 10-5A contests.
Despite those earlier obstacles, the Lady Pirates were able to finish second in the district, and then went out and swept Frisco Centennial in the bi-district round.
“The whole season, honestly, was really tough,” head coach Heather Damron said. “You deal with weather. You get prepared and you think you’re going to go on, and then you don’t: not only in this series, but the whole season … It makes for a hard season, but I think our kids are able to learn from that, fight through the adversity, not cater to it and still come out fighters.”
Heath opened things with a win at Wylie, a contest in which they scored early and then held on, despite an Alexis Perry homer.
In Game 2, which began after a lightning delay, it was the Lady Pirates’ turn to bash the ball around. That hit parade started in the top of the first, when Jessica Lee smacked a two-out single to right that scored two runs.
Wylie was up 3-0 in the third inning, when a squall hit the area and dropped enough rain on Heath’s home field to make it unplayable. Both teams remedied the situation by moving the contest to Boyd, where it resumed around 10:15 p.m. and ended about 45 minutes later.
The rubber game was scheduled to start noon Saturday at Boyd’s field, but more rain pushed the starting time back to 3 p.m.
Once things got under way — there was a 30-minute lightning delay in the early innings — Heath jumped to a 5-0 lead in the top of the first, only to see Wylie chip away to make it 5-3 after two innings. Katelyn Belch delivered the big blow for Wylie, with a two-out, two-run single to center in the bottom of the second.
The score stayed that way until the top of the fifth, when Heath’s first two batters got on base and then Madison Leggett launched a three-run homer to center for an 8-3 advantage. Wylie responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning, which came as a result of hits, sacrifice flies and one batter being hit by a pitch.
Neither team seriously threatened after that inning.
“We gave them a few runs (today) with some defensive miscues and trying to make things happen in there, when we shouldn’t have,” Damron said after Game 3. “We take a few of those away and we have a tie game. We had runners on there, and we had chances. We just didn’t come through with some of the hits they did.”
Note: The Lady Pirates are losing just one player to graduation, Serena Saldivar, and Damron expects the entire varsity team to return in 2016.