Georgetown stuns No. 1 Leander, reaches first state softball tournament
Freshman pitcher Cambree Creager guided Georgetown to two wins in a Class 5A Region IV doubleheader as the Eagles shocked Leander, the state's No. 1 team, to advance to the state softball tournament for the first time in school history.
Creager pitched five innings in the first game and was relieved by senior Hannah Blincoe in a 7-3 win, but she returned to the mound in the second game and threw a complete game in a 5-3 win at Concordia University. After a rough first inning, Creager buckled down and limited the hard-hitting Lions in the final six frames.
“Cambree is so mature," said Georgetown coach Jessica Bond. "She knows where her pitches are and how she feels, she communicates really well, and today, she gave us two great efforts. We kept asking her if she was okay, and she said she had her good stuff and wanted to stay on the mound."
Leander (37-3) beat Georgetown (27-6-1) twice in the regular season in District 25-5A play and topped the Eagles 10-5 in Friday's series opener. But Bond said her Eagles never lost confidence entering Saturday.
“Leander is a great team, but Friday, we hit the ball well," she said. "We were ready for today."
Georgetown played superior defense on Saturday after an unusual and uncharacteristic first game filled with errors, miscues and poor decision-making. Leander stumbled defensively, allowing the Eagles three unearned runs in the top of the first inning in the first contest of the day that set the stage for the second game.
Georgetown shortstop Isa Torres, had a brilliant day defensively, starting three double plays and collecting four hits in the two games, including what proved to be the game-winning RBI double off the wall in Game 2.
“Isa can play for any team, anywhere in the nation," Bond said. "She is a special talent, offensively, defensively, softball IQ. ... she is just an incredible asset."
Torres led off Game 1 with a soft fly ball to right field that was dropped with Torres hustling to second base. Jordan Credeur then laid down a bunt that was misplayed with Torres reaching third and Credeur safe at first. After Leander starting pitcher Lauren Tetreault struck out the next hitter, Olivia Prinz singled home Torres and Credeur scored on another Lion fielding miscue that sent Prinz all the way around to third. Georgetown second baseman Braylin Pannill then started what would be a huge game for her with an RBI sacrifice fly that gave the Eagles an early 3-0 lead.
Georgetown never gave up the lead, even as temperatures rose on the field and tempers got raised in the stands. With Leander leading 4-1 in the fifth inning, Pannill lofted a two-run homer that helped give Georgetown an insurmountable lead. Some fan arguments then broke out, which led to a suspension of play while officials tried to calm tempers.
“Just folks getting a little too excited, but we want to keep the competition on the field," said Concordia softball coach Jeff Staton.
Down 7-1, Leander finally got to Creager for two runs in the fifth inning when Bella Ruff doubled, Chris'Ma Edmondson walked and Maddy Strader drove in both Ruff and Edmondson with a double. Creager got out of the fifth and turned the ball over to Blincoe to finish up.
“Cambree gave us five great innings, we had a four-run lead, and Hannah is very good," Bond said. "She gave us a different look on the mound, and we went with her."
After a longer-than-normal break between games as the temperatures continued to climb into the high eighties with near 100 percent humidity, Game 2 had Creager in the circle.
Triples by Strader and Marley Neises helped Leander take a 2-0 lead in the third game of the series. Leander pitcher SJ Geurin, an Oklahoma signee who entered the game with a perfect record, then retired the Eagles on one hit through the first three innings.
But like they did in Game 1 of the series, Georgetown became more selective at the plate and posted a big fourth inning against Geurin. Prinz doubled to the wall to lead off the frame and Pannill was hit by a pitch. Samantha Swan singled home Prinz, and Kennedy Miller hit a sacrifice fly to deep right field that scored Pannill, tying the game at 2-2. Blincoe then lined a double that scored Swan and gave the Eagles a 3-2 lead.
After her rocky first inning, Creager was in her zone, holding the Lions hitless over the next five innings while striking out five and walking just one.
Georgetown led 3-2 going into the seventh inning, and the Eagles gathered as they ran into the dugout.
“We got together, and the girls knew they need at least one more run," said Bond. "And they went out and got it.”
Rainey Kunz tripled with one out and Torres capped a splendid day with a double to give the Eagles a 4-2 lead. That hit proved to be the game-winning RBI.
Leander fought until the end. The Lions opened the final half of the seventh inning with a single by Tetreault and a single by Edmondson, with Tetreault scoring on a sacrifice fly by Paige McCall and Edmondson reaching third with one out.
Creager then threw an off-speed breaking ball that pinch hitter Delaney Brunker poked for a soft liner beyond the grasp of third baseman Madison Hartley, but Torres gloved the ball with a dive that prevented Edmondson from scoring the tying run. Creager retired the final Lion to send the Eagles to the state tournament.
Georgetown will face Hallsville on Friday in the UIL class 5A state semifinals. Hallsville advanced by beating Lucas Lovejoy 3-1 and 17-5. The other semifinal is Barbers Hill against Aledo. All state softball games will take place at McCombs Field at the University of Texas.