The Lufkin Lady Panthers softball team used Alex Flores’ arm and bat to give them a 1-0 lead in a best-of-three series against Hallsville on Thursday night. On Friday night, the offense gave her a big-time assist as the Lady Pack closed out a two-game sweep of a Class 5A Region II Quarterfinal series with a 7-5 road win over the Ladycats on Friday night.
While handing Hallsville its first home loss of the season, the Lady Panthers used a five-run sixth inning to overcome a three-run deficit and Flores did the work from there, sending Lufkin within two rounds of the state tournament.
After a pitching duel gave the Lady Pack a 1-0 win at Morris Frank on Thursday night, Lufkin needed some late-game heroics to close out the series after Hallsville overcame a two-run deficit to take a 5-2 lead into the sixth inning. Flores continued to do her damage at the plate by starting the rally with a triple. Sam Padilla narrowed the gap to 5-3 with an RBI single.
Leah Akridge drove in the fourth run with an RBI groundout. Valdez then delivered an RBI single and two more runs came around to score on an error that put the Lady Pack on top 7-5.
Hallsville didn’t go down without a fight as it put two runners on base in the seventh inning before Flores recorded her 11th and 12th strikeouts of the night to send the Lady Pack on to the regional semifinals. Lufkin gained the early edge with the help of Akridge’s speed as she singled, stole second and scored on an error for a 1-0 lead.
Padilla delivered an RBI double to make it 2-0 in the second inning. However, Hallsville bounced back after being held scoreless by Flores for nine straight innings.
Elizabeth Davis gave Hallsville its first run on an RBI infield single. Hallsville added two runs on wild pitches to take a 3-2 lead. Hallsville added a run in the fourth inning then took a 5-2 lead on a Julie Ann Rawls’ RBI triple in the fifth inning. Flores got the win in the circle for Lufkin.
At the plate, Padilla had a pair of hits and two RBI. Lufkin improved to 34-3 on the season and 6-0 in its playoff run. The Lady Panthers will continue the playoffs this week as they take on North Forney in the regional semifinals. North Forney, the fourth-place team from District 12-5A, is coming off a 7-1 win over The Colony.