Just as it was with the Kennedale Wildcats team, the 2nd place Kennedale Lady Kats had to travel to play a challenger, the 3rd place Venus Lady Bulldogs in a District 10-4A.
Venus came into the game at 5-3, 13-16 while the Lady Kats started the evening at 6-2, 14-8. Venus was gaming to tie the Kats while the Kats wanted nothing more than to recover from their last game lost to Alvarado.
It was Kennedale who got on the scoreboard first with two runs in the second powered by a Jessie Willingham triple with another run scored when the Kats hit five straight singles in the top of the third to make it 3-0. Venus responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning to make it a game at 3-2.
When the Lady Kat came up with two unanswered runs in the 4th off two singles (Lexi Zamaro and Kayla Williamson), a sacrifice bunt (Ella Loker), and a double (Cadence Verona) tacked another run in the top of the 5th to take a 6-2 lead, it seemed the game was in hand.
Venus comes alive in the 5th …
The ladies on the other side had a different take. In the bottom of the 5th, five Venus players crossed the plate all with two outs on the board. It was a coach’s nightmare as the two outs were followed by a walk, a double, a single, and a second walk followed by two errors. With that outburst, Venus took the lead for the first time in the game at 7-6 with just two innings remaining.
The Kennedale Lady Kats seemingly unshaken came up with two runs in the 6th on two singles (C Verona and Kaydee Mantell), and a ground-out (J Willingham). Then the Kats clamped down on the Lady Dogs. In the final two innings with Mantell pitching, Venus got only a walk and two singles while suffering two strikeouts, three flyouts, and hitting into a fielder’s choice without scoring a single run.
For the game, Kaydee Mantell earned the win by pitching 5 2/3 innings, allowing five hits, five runs, and striking out 5. Isabel Martinez came in as relief for 1 1/3 innings.
Ella Loker had a triple along with Jessie Willingham (2 hits, 2 RBI) coupled with a double by Cadence Verona (3 hits, 1 RBI). Overall the Lady Kats had 12 hits, 8 runs, 3 walks, and 6 strikeouts.
The final games coming up …
One game remains in the district season and that is a return match with the district-leading and state-ranked Godley Wildcats. Kennedale, with the loss in the first match-up with Godley combined with the unlikely loss to Alvarado, can’t overtake Godley. It will simply be a game of pride Friday night when Kennedale travels to Godley. The game time is set as 6:30 p.m.
In other district games last Tuesday, Alvarado defeated Waxahachie Life 16-5 while Godley defeated Hillsboro 12-1.
After Tuesday night Godley remains in first place at 9-0, 24-6. Kennedale is in 2nd at 7-2, 15-9 followed by Venus at 5-4, 13-18 in 3rd, and Alvarado in 4th at 4-5, 13-18. Hillsboro and Life round out the standings. The top four will be in the upcoming playoffs. Godley is currently ranked #3 in Class 4A statewide.
The current top four will not change in the final district games this Friday but interest will focus on the Godley/Kennedale game to see if the Godley can go undefeated in district play. Others will focus on the #3 Venus vs #4 Alvarado game. A win by Alvarado would tie the two teams in 3rd at 5-5.
The playoffs begin next week …
After the Godley game on Friday night, the Lady Kats will play a non-district pre-tournament game against 6A Arlington HS on Monday, April 24 at home. The game time is at 5 pm. Bi-district play in the UIL High School State Softball tournament begins on Saturday, April 29, 2023.