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Crosby forces PNG to Game 3

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Crosby second baseman Megan Ready slid home safely to give the Lady Cougars a 2-1 victory over the Port Neches-Groves softball team in Game 2 of the three-game bidistrict series Saturday at Lady Cougar Field.

“We didn’t hit the ball well today,” PN-G head coach Brook Fontenot said. “(Crosby pitcher Taylor Cole) got us on her rise ball and we kept biting. We weren’t smart at the plate and we’ve talked about that all season. We are smarter hitters than that, and we let her get the best of us.”

PN-G will play Game 3 at 7 p.m. Monday in Hamshire-Fannett.

Lady Indians starter Brittnee Moore matched Cole up until that crucial ninth inning. Moore was efficient, needing just 97 pitches and throwing 75 strikes in the game. Cole allowed four hits, one run and four walks while striking out nine to get the victory for Crosby. Moore threw 8 2/3 innings while allowing seven hits, two runs, one walk and striking out four.

Moore ran into trouble in the bottom of the ninth after catcher Ariel Clogston hit a double to left center field. Ready then reached on PN-G’s first error of the game, which was a two-base error pushing Clogston to third and Ready to second.

Moore then loaded the bases with a walk, setting up a force out at home. Moore got Cole to hit a comebacker to the mound and fired to catcher Caitlynn Dykes for the second out of the inning. The throw back to first base for a potential double play sailed wide of the bag, giving Ready a chance to sprint home and slide in under Dykes’ tag for the winning run.

“We get what we need, a little ground ball to the pitcher, ” Fontenot said. “That little error was what it was going to come down to. We knew it. Those are the breaks. Brittnee did a great job out there. She got the fly balls and got less pitches in an inning, which helped her go longer. She has very good control of her pitches, which makes her such a good pitcher.”

PN-G broke open a scoreless tie in the top of the third. Third baseman Kristin Bray picked up the second of her three walks in the game with one out in the inning. Dykes followed with a line drive single to center field that put runners on first and second.

After Cole got a strikeout to give Crosby two outs, PN-G second baseman hit a hard grounder to the right side of the infield. Crosby’s defender booted the ball and it ricocheted over her head and fell just on the outfield grass. That gave Braye enough of an opportunity to get to third base and think about home.

Fontenot quickly waved her home and Braye made a beautiful slide past Clogston, sweeping far to the right but tagging home with her outstretched hand to score PN-G’s first run.

“I didn’t hesitate at all (sending Kristin),” Fontenot said. “She’s quick and I know she’s got a great slide. She’s done it in the past, so I had no hesitation. I’d rather get thrown out at the plate than not try to score.”

Braye led the team at the plate by going 1 for 2 with three walks and scoring a run. Center fielder Kate Fawcett was 1 for 5 with a double while Dykes and Shelby Valentine were both 2 for 5. Shortstop Ricki Gilbert was 2 for 4.