HOULKA – A year ago, the Houlka Lady Wildcats were not on the radar as far as the playoffs were concerned.
They were a one-win team.
But in 2009, the Lady Wildcats are into the third round of the Class 1A tournament, thanks to a 4-3 victory Monday over Wheeler in Game 3 of their second-round series.
“The team was pretty confident they could do this,” Houlka coach Vickie Homan said. “But it was a pretty close game, and you can’t take anything away from Wheeler today.”
Close? It came down to the last at bat for the Lady Wildcats (10-7).
Hitless until the bottom of the seventh inning, Courtney Wood-ard came through for Houlka with a shot to the centerfield fence for a triple to lead off the inning. Then Marissa Hobson followed with her third hit of the contest to score Woodard to help give the Lady Wildcats the win.
“This was nerve-wracking,” Homan said. “I saw us going flat after a good start.
“Then Courtney came through with her first hit, and Marissa followed with her hit.”
Houlka moved to a 3-0 lead through the first three innings of play.
With two big triples on the day, Candice McIntosh hit her first in the opening inning to knock in the contest’s first run. McIntosh got her second triple and RBI in the third frame, followed by a run-scoring single by Johelesia Young.
Wheeler (13-7) finally broke through in the top of the fifth.
Three hits in a row to begin the frame included RBI knocks by Brooke Jones and Hillary Glover. Then Joni Green delivered a two-out single for the third run, tying the score at 3-3.
“We just didn’t hit it tonight, except for one inning,” Wheeler coach Andy Richey said. “Give Houlka credit.”
Wheeler got its leadoff batters on in both the sixth and seventh innings, but could not break through.
Houlka now plays Vardaman in a series that starts Thursday.
David Wheeler/Daily Journal