The No. 8 Texas A&M University-Commerce softball team fell to Cameron in the South Central Region 2 Championship game on Saturday evening. The Lions fell 13-9 in the first game and 6-5 in the second game on a walkoff home run.
The Lions end their historic season with a final record of 40-14, which included their highest-ever finish in the LSC standings, their third regional appearance in program history and their first regional host bid. Cameron advances to the South Central Super Regional series.
QUOTES AFTER THE GAME
Head Coach Richie Bruister
– Thoughts on the game: “I’m proud of how our team fought, and that’s been our team all year. I told our team at the end that some people counted us out this year. We lost some big guns last year but we reloaded. I’m proud of our team for who they are and what they’ve done this year. We weren’t planning on going out today but the cards weren’t in our hand tonight. I’m proud of how our team fought and kept their composure and took it down to the last out. ‘
– On the seniors: “I’m extremely proud of our senior class and them passing the torch. We have a great group of alumni now that will be out cheering future Lions on.”
– Looking ahead to next season: “I’m looking forward to next year. We have a ton of talent coming in. We will be competing for a national championship. This is going to be our motivation. This hurts but I know our team and they are going to be hungry. We are going to come our ready to go next year.”
Senior Kayla Kilcrease
– On the resiliency the team showed: “We knew people were going to get on base and we knew we were g0ing to have runners. All weekend we had people on base and we just needed that hit to put the runs on the board. The heart of everybody was just amazing.”
Junior Kinsie Hebler
– On her three-home run performance: “It was all for the seniors. I didn’t want to go down today but that’s how the cards fell. But I played for them. I wasn’t ready to go home. I did everything in my power to change that for us.”
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE (Game 1)
– Kinsie Hebler (Cypress – Cy Fair) hit three home runs, tying the program record for most home runs in a single game. She finished the game with four hits, four RBIs and three runs scored.
– Vanessa Muro (Oak Hills, Calif.) hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning. Bri Sims (Rowlett) also had a home run.
– Emily Otto (Richmond – Lamar Consolidated), Katie Dean (Whitesboro) and Alexis Velasquez (Amarillo – River Road) all saw time in the circle.
– Jodie Hill (Heavener, Okla.) had an RBI double. Kayla Kilcrease (Kerens) and Madison Schaefer (Frisco – Independence) also had a hit.
– Vanessa Avina (Haltom City) and Ta’Lyn Moody (Mansfield – Legacy) each scored a run.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Game 1)
The Lions jumped out to an early lead in the second inning as Sims reached on a single. Avina entered to pinch run and scored on a double from Hill. The Lions led 1-0 after two complete innings.
The Aggies brought five runs across in the third inning to take the lead. The Lions answered back in the bottom of the third as Hebler hit a two-run home run to cut the Cameron lead in half at 5-3.
The Aggies added four more runs in the fourth inning and two in the sixth to take an 11-3 lead. The Lions continued to battle as Hebler hit another home run in the sixth and Muro hit a three-run shot to cut the Cameron lead to 11-7 heading into the final inning.
After Cameron added two more runs in the top of the frame, the Lions looked to rally. Hebler and Sims hit solo home runs to cut the lead to four but the Lions could not cut the deficit any further.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE (Game 2)
– Bri Sims (Rowlett) had a pair of hits, including a home run in the second inning.
– Kayla Kilcrease (Kerens) hit a two-RBI double in the sixth inning. Vanessa Muro (Oak Hills, Calif.) had a two-RBI single in the third.
– Ciera Nunez (Amarillo – Randall) had a hit and scored a run. Chealsea Slider (Texarkana – Texas HS) and Avery Boley (Fort Worth – Nolan Catholic) also had a hit.
– Da’Jia Davis (Hillsboro – Midway), Allie Thompson (Lindale) and Jodie Hill (Heavener, Okla.) also scored runs.
– Emily Otto (Richmond – Lamar Consolidated) pitched her 25th complete game of the season.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Game 2)
A&M-Commerce lost the coin flip and was the visiting team for the second game. The Lions jumped out to an early lead once again, this time on a solo homer from Sims in the second inning. A&M-Commerce added two more runs in the third inning. Hebler reached on an intentional walk and Boley singled. After Thompson and Davis entered to pinch run, both scored on a single from Muro. The Lions led 3-0 after three complete innings.
The Aggies got their first hits of the game in the fourth inning and pushed three runs across to tie the game after four innings. The Aggies then took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth.
The Lions battled back to tie the game in the sixth inning. Slider and Nunez both reached with singles. Hill reached on a fielder’s choice and she and Nunez both scored on a double from Kilcrease. The game was tied heading into the seventh inning.
The Lions were unable to push a run across in the top of the seventh and Cameron hit a solo home run to end the game in the bottom of the frame.