VENUS — The Venus Lady Bulldogs captured the District 17-4A championship with a 3-2 walk-off win in eight innings Tuesday over Alvarado.
The Lady Bulldogs ran the table in District 17-4A with a perfect 10-0 record for what is believed to be Venus’ first-ever outright district title in softball.
“This has been long a process,” Venus Coach Dayberly Spray said. “We are so proud of our current Lady Bulldogs and the past Lady Bulldogs who were a valuable part of creating our program. I have been in Venus for 10 years and this has been the goal since I arrived. Our kids are hard working and we have tried to instill this into them not only for softball, but in everything they do. Words cannot describe how excited we are to have this district championship to represent our school.”
Alvarado entered Tuesday’s battle against No. 4 Venus with an 8-1 record and a chance to share the district title if the Lady Indians came away with the win. And Alvarado, the defending district champion, certainly made Venus earn it as the Lady Indians plated two runs in the seventh to force extra innings. But Venus’ Piper Lanford hit a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to win it in dramatic fashion.
“Alvarado is a good team and was the defending district champs,” Spray said. “I have so much respect for Coach [Rick] Waugh and his team. It is always a good game when Venus and Alvarado play each other.”
Venus pitcher Kaylee Davis continued her season-long dominance as she struck out 16 batters and allowed just four hits and two walks in an eight-inning complete-game outing.
“Kaylee is an exceptional young lady not only on the field but in the classroom,” Spray said. “She will be the first to tell you that her teammates have her back and with them behind her she is confident to get the job done in the circle. This team has so much trust in each other and giving up is not in their vocabulary.”
Davis finished with 128 strikeouts in 10 district games to go along with a .567 batting average in district play. For the season, Davis has 284 strikeouts and boasts a batting average of .549.
Venus took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning on back-to-back RBI singles by Davis and Alexis Jasso.
The score remained 2-0 until the seventh inning, when Alvarado’s Lainey Brooks hit an RBI double and Faith Waugh drove in the tying run on a fielder’s choice.
Venus had a chance to win it in the bottom of the seventh as the Lady Bulldogs loaded the bases with two outs but Alvarado ace Kaitlynn Woodlee got a ground-out to third to send it into extra innings.
After an uneventful top of the eighth, Venus hit a pop-out and struck out for two quick outs, but Paige Loewen singled and Maria Rodriguez reached on an error to put a runner in scoring position for Lanford, who came through with the winning hit.
Davis went 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored as the only player in the game with multiple hits.
Big finish by the Lady Bulldogs scoring in extra innings to stay perfect in district. DISTRICT CHAMPS!!! 🏆 pic.twitter.com/vg2SXiSqNu— VENUS ATHLETICS (@VenusAthletics) April 17, 2019
Woodlee was solid as usual for Alvarado as she struck out nine and allowed six hits, two walks and one earned run in a complete-game effort.
Venus ends the regular season with an overall record of 21-2-2 as the Lady Bulldogs now turn their attention to the postseason.
“This has been fun and record-breaking season, but when the playoffs come we are starting back at square one,” Spray said. “We always want to improve, so getting past the regional quarterfinals is definitely a goal we have set. We are in a new region this year so this means new competition. We are going to have to come ready to work and be focused every day to achieve our ultimate goal.”
Last season, Venus reached the regional quarterfinals before falling in three games to Graham.
Alvarado wraps up the regular season at 15-13-1 but went 8-2 and finished second place in District 17-4A.