Gerry L. Dickert
The Port Arthur News
In the past, Montgomery has represented a roadblock of sorts for Nederland’s softball team in the playoffs. That was in the past.
Friday night at Lady Bulldogs Field, Nederland dominated the Lady Bears 12-5 to claim a sweep of the best-of-3 Class 4A Area Round series. The ’Dogs topped Montgomery 6-4 in Game 1 on Thursday night in Montgomery.
“We’ve been stringing it together with offense and defense the last couple of games,” Nederland head coach Will Mallette said. “Our confidence is through the roof. We’re clicking on all cylinders and we are hoping we can keep it up.”
After Thursday’s two-run decision, the Bulldogs had hoped to come in and dominate during the Friday homestand. It didn’t take long for Nederland’s hopes to turn to reality in the form of a 10-0 lead after three innings.
On the offensive side of that, Jensen Richard played a key role, slapping home four runs on back-to-back doubles in the first and second innings. Richard finished 3 for 3 at the plate. Leadoff hitter Tori Cooper went 4 for 5 with 3 runs batted in, Savana Guidry was 3 for 4 while Kelly Bergeron was 3 for 4.
But while the Bulldogs were swatting the ball all over the field, it was Nederland’s pitching that clinched the victory down the stretch.
Starter Kelly worked into the top of the sixth inning before Montgomery’s hitters got her timing down. Before she left the hill, she allowed eight hits, but limited the Bears to one hit through a very frustrating first three innings.
“Makayla got us here and we were going to go with her to start,” Mallette said. They were finally able to get her timing down and we brought in a freshman to relieve her in a tough situation.”
After a walk loaded the bases with no outs, junior Cooper took to the hill to try to work the Dogs out of the jam. She struck out the first batter she faced and the second out came on a force-out at the plate. Finally, the third Montgomery out came on a swinging strikeout to end the threat.
“Coop is an amazing pitcher,” Mallette said. “She came into a tough situation and she really stepped it up. She did a great job.”
Kelly got the win on the hill while Cooper finished with four strikeouts while allowing just one hit.
The Bulldogs, who improved to 26-9 overall with the win, will face the winner of the Little Cypress-Mauriceville/Huntsville area round series that concludes today.