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Aledo edges Birdville in extra innings during one-game series

FORT WORTH – Texas Tech signee Brenlee Gonzales allowed four hits and struck out 10 batters in six innings of relief and Aledo overcame a seventh-inning run that tied the game to beat Birdville 3-2 in 11 to win the one-game Class 5A Region 1 area round championship on Thursday from Boswell HS.

The Ladycats will face Joshua in another one-game championship for the regional quarterfinals on Thursday at Chisholm Trail HS. Aledo improved to 30-3 this season. Birdville ends at 24-9.

“I’m pretty excited about moving on. That was a really good game,” Aledo coach Heather Myers said. “It showed a lot of grit because we had some errors that we don’t typically make and they were able to come back from it.”

Birdville took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI triple from Coryn Burris. Freshman starter Reagan Jordan kept Aledo off the board as the Hawks led 1-0 through three innings.

Aledo put two on in the top of the fourth.

Delaney Rosser led the frame off with a stand-up triple and scored on another stand-up triple from Ana Flores. Flores scored on a sac fly to center by Marina Taveras and Aledo led 2-1. Taveras is the second cousin of Texas Rangers outfielder Leody Taveras, who helped the franchise to its first World Series championship last fall.

“The team’s energy was amazing. Our energy is what kept us in the game. Our energy as a team has to always be up there,” Flores said. “Reagan Jordan pitched a really good game. Our mindset was to lay off the rise. I knew 3-2 count she was going to throw something in the zone so I just went out there and swung.”

Aledo starter Taylor McKean (Tarleton State commit) made quick work in the fourth and ended with a strikeout. She finished off her final inning in the fifth with another 1-2-3 frame. McKean finished with seven strikeouts. The Ladycats looked to put up an insurance run with a runner on second in the top of the seventh and one out.

But a soft liner went to Jordan in the circle and she turned around to double off the runner to end the threat. Burris led off Birdville’s chance in the seventh with a single to right field, but a two-base error landed her on third with no outs. Jordan helped herself out with the game-tying RBI single. Birdville then had the game winner on second with one out, but Gonzales tossed back-to-back strikeouts.

“So previous years we’ve been blessed to have a pitching staff,” Gonzales said. “Taylor and I have always had that connection. We know what we got. When we found out it was going to be one game, we said let’s go – that’s what we’re here for.”

Aledo got a lead off walk in the ninth, but Jordan induced two fly balls and a grounder to keep it even. Birdville led off its ninth with a walk to Haley Mennenga and after a Jordan single with one out, the Hawks had runners on first and second base.

But once again, Gonzales struck out back-to-back batters to send it to the 10th.

Gonzales struck out the side to send the game into the 11th.

“I know I can start either Brenlee or Taylor and have the other come in and shut the door,” Myers said. “It’s pretty nice because they’re different. They have different styles. Lefty, righty – one’s a rise ball and one’s a drop ball. I think it’s hard for hitters to get their timing that quickly. It’s exciting to have the depth that we have.”

With a runner at third, Aledo scored on an errant throw to first that grabbed a 3-2 lead. Birdville came back in the bottom of the 11th with an infield single from Riley Wright and single to left by Mennenga to put two on and no outs. Aledo got a force out at third and Gonzales hurled her 10th strikeout.

A grounder to Flores at shortstop was thrown to first for the final out.

“Senior year – gotta keep it going,” Gonzales said. “I know last year we didn’t succeed as much as we wanted. We lost in the second round so making it this far has been a privilege.”

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