The “dirt” infield at Waco ISD’s main softball field isn’t really dirt at all. The entire surface is turf, though the infield is a dirt-like brown to differentiate it from the outfield’s green-dyed turf.
Lately, every time Rogers hits that field, it seems to make a clean getaway.
Rogers tagged 11 hits in just five innings — including one rocket that skipped off the top of the fence and stayed in, and another that cleared the fence — in walloping Whitney, 11-1, in run-rule fashion in the opener of their Class 3A Region III quarterfinal series on Friday.
Rogers (30-4) takes a one-game lead in the best-of-three series, which will resume at 3 p.m. Saturday at Waco ISD. If Whitney wins that one, a decisive third game would follow.
It continued a string of good fortune at Waco ISD for Rogers, which dispatched West there last weekend.
Whitney (29-7) actually started the game with a missile of its own, as Lady Wildcats catcher Callie Poore led off the top of the first with a double to the fence. But Rogers senior pitcher Kylie Huhman settled down and battled her way back to duck out of the inning unharmed.
Rogers, meanwhile, had far more success bringing baserunners homeward. The Lady Eagles scored two runs in the first and two more in the second off Whitney hurler Kenzie Seely, who tossed a bevy of pitches early in the game, going to three-ball counts on five of the first 13 batters of the night.
And when Rogers got locked in on Seely’s offerings, it sent them soaring into the sky. In the first, Huhman followed a one-out walk from Courtney Andel by powering a deep fly into the gap in left-center. The ball skimmed the top of the fence and bounced back in, leaving Huhman to settle for an RBI double. The Lady Eagles later added another run in the inning on a Whitney error.
In the second, Rogers stretched the lead to 4-0 when its equally speedy and powerful shortstop Itati Arzola got a hold of one, drilling the ball deep over the left-field fence for a two-run bomb.
Whitney’s Seely managed to get through the third inning with little problem, but Rogers chased the pitcher from the game with a big, three-run fourth. With two runners on base, Madison Matamoros dropped one an eyelash inside the left-field line for an RBI single. Billie Wolfe later added a bouncing two-run single up the middle off new pitcher Maddie Strickling, pushing the lead to 7-0.
In the top of the fifth, Bo Johnson’s Whitney team scratched out a run to break up Huhman’s shutout bid. Seely slapped one through the left side for an RBI single to score Angel Price, who had walked to lead off the inning.
But a slick-turned 4-6-3 double play wiped out Whitney’s chances to illuminate the scoreboard further. And in the bottom of the fifth, Rogers iced the run-rule with another four-run outburst. Huhman unloaded a screamer that just cleared the second baseman’s grasp and whistled all the way to the right-field fence for a two-run double. The Lady Eagles tacked on another on a Strickling wild pitch before Megan Malcik delivered an RBI single to right for the game-winner.