DECATUR, Texas — Despite a run-scoring doubles by Lexi Perez and Shelby Noah, Midlothian fell two games under .500 after losing Saturday's road doubleheader against Decatur High School at Lady Bulldog Field.
The (1-2) Lady Panthers fall came only five days after crushing UIL 6A class Cedar Hill High School 9-3 in their season opener behind Noah's third inning, two-run homer and RBIs by Perez, Noah (2), Sierra Mihailov (2), Emily Singleton (2) and Megan Martens.
While the runs came in bunches against the Lady Longhorns, Midlothian struggled on the road in Decatur — especially during game one's 4-1 loss.
Decatur sophomore Reagan Chism allowed one Lady Panther hit, walked no batters and struck out nine players in five innings. Midlothian's one run came from Noah's double-turned-score on a passed ball but was nearly held scoreless and hitless through the remaining six innings.
"We realized that with pitchers like [Chism], we can't wait for our pitch," sophomore shortstop Sierra Mihailov. "They'll just chew up the inside of the plate and you have to be aggressive with your at bats. I think we are definitely closer to district ready after those games, though. We've learned what each individual player brings to the table and draw from those skills and utilize that to our advantage."
Tatum Sorrels, who slammed a second-inning single through the mouth of the Lady Eagle defense, nearly broke the 1-1 deadlock with some crafty base running and a steal of third base.
Noah, the Lady Panthers' starting ace, allowed six hits and four runs on two errors but struck out eight batters in five innings. She threw 82 pitches and had a 74 percent strike rate.
HITTING CLINIC IN DECATUR NOT ENOUGH
The Lady Panthers couldn't recover in during a 5-3 loss to the Lady Eagles despite out-hitting Decatur six to five, committing no errors in the field and taking an early lead in the first inning.
Midlothian sprinted to a one-run lead after Perez drove in Kaylee Hlavaty on a first-inning double, but Decatur took the lead with three runs in the second inning.
"Chism is a very very good pitcher for Decatur that has a lot of select and travel ball experience playing for a good organization," Head Coach Alejandro Lozoya said. "She was someone that I was hoping to face in order to gauge where we are early in the season. We did a better job at the end of the game of just being aggressive early and putting the ball in play. Against really good pitching, you have to be aggressive early on and I think that's what held us back in game one and early part of game two."
The Lady Panthers' six hits in the game came via Perez's double, and singles by Hlavaty, Noah and Annabel Anderson. Both Hlavaty and Anderson went 2-for-3 at the plate and were the only Midlothian players to earn multiple hits.
Midlothian's two pitchers, Kristalyn Brown and Morgan Stevenson, combined for six innings pitched, five strikeouts and five earned runs and two walks. The duo threw 98 pitches.
Midlothian was scheduled to face Arlington Heights High School at 7 p.m. Tuesday at MHS Lady Panther Field after press time. The team will compete in a three-day tournament on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at Brewer High School.
"I think the kids had a good workout yesterday albeit the weather didn't allow us to get on the field," Lozoya said. "Throughout the early season, though, our pitchers have been doing a great job of allowing us to get opportunities to make plays.[Against Arlington Heights] we will have to start off fast and aggressive offensively and be better at taking care of the ball on defense."
The Brewer tournament will be the first of two before the Lady Panthers' District 10-5A opener against Mansfield Legacy High School at 7 p.m. March 7 at MHS Lady Panther Field.
Marcus S. Marion can be reached for story idea submissions or concerns at (469) 517-1456. Follow him on Twitter at @MarcusMarionWNI.