BULLARD — North Forney entered Thursday night’s contest having scored 18 runs in each of its last two playoff games.
Obviously, the Lady Falcons didn’t face anyone like Cassidy Ferrill in those games.
The Hallsville junior scattered five hits on the way to a complete-game shutout to give the Ladycats a 6-0 victory over North Forney in Game 1 of a best-of-three regional semifinal series at Brook Hill’s Schwab Field.
“They were hitting by us in the cages before the game, and Coach (Kayla) Jackson told me they were taking long swings,” Ferrill said. “I just jammed them all night, and they were hitting everything to the left side.”
“What can you say?” Hallsville head coach Pat Eitel asked after the game. “When she focuses, she’s awfully dang good.”
Ferrill struck out five and walked two. But as good as she was, North Forney’s Christi Flanigan was just as effective through the first five innings.
Hallsville had just one hit before the sixth inning – a third-inning double by freshman Madison McElroy. After a two-out walk by Julie Ann Rawls, Hailee Hollan roped a line drive to left field, but Maddi Carney made a diving catch to end the threat.
The Ladycats finally got the bats rolling in the sixth inning when Elizabeth Davis, Rawls and Hollan all singled to load the bases for Katie McElroy, who connected for a two-run double. Nicole Linton added a sacrifice fly, and McElroy scored on a two-out error to give Hallsville a 4-0 advantage.
North Forney had two runners reach to lead off the bottom of the sixth with singles from Blake Bennett and Taylor Sieber, but Ferrill forced two fly balls to left field and a fielder’s choice to keep the shutout intact.
“Having that lead helped me ease up out there and pitch more relaxed,” Ferrill said.
Hallsville tacked on two more runs in the seventh when Madison McElroy doubled and scored on a two-run homer by Rawls.
After the game, Eitel told his team, “Don’t think this thing is over.”
Game 2 of the series is at 7 tonight, also at Brook Hill.
“We are facing a solid team,” the coach said. “Their top five hitters are solid, and they have a great pitcher. We have to come ready to play.”
Carney had two singles for North Forney (29-5-2).
Rawls, Hollan and Madison McElroy led Hallsville (36-3) with two hits apiece.
(Follow Brandon Ogden on Twitter: @BrandonOSports)