Area Softball: Bullard lassos Lady Longhorns to win Game 3 of series

May 4—LUFKIN — In a game that Bullard never trailed in, the Lady Panthers dispatched Hamshire-Fannett from post season play Saturday by downing the Lady Longhorns, 7-2, in the final game of a Class 4A, Region III area series.

The Lady Panthers (29-6-1) will face either Gilmer or Little Cypress-Mauriceville in the regional quarterfinal round of the state playoffs next week. The series between those two schools was tied, 1-1, going into the decisive game Saturday night.

Despite the five-run victory, Bullard was held to three hits by the Lady Longhorn pitching staff, which forced the Lady Panthers to rely on its bunting, base stealing, heads-up base running and fundamentals to secure the win.

Bullard was also aided by 10 free passes issued by Hamshire-Fannett pitchers.

The winning Bullard run was scored by Brooklyn Brannen, who was able to score in the bottom of the third inning when Baylie Walker grounded out to shortstop.

Brannen got aboard earlier in the frame on a fielder's choice and moved over to second on the throw to the plate. She was bunted over to third by Matti Nix.

Kirstin Malone belted a double and drove in two runs for the Lady Panthers.

Other key contributors for Bullard were Kenzie Roberts (single, two stolen bases), Brannen (single, RBI, stolen base) and Dakota Payne and Zaylee Zahirniak, who each drove in a run for the Lady Panthers.

Senior Anistyn Foster, who earlier this week signed with Samford University (NCAA, Division I, Big South Conference) pitched a complete game to record the win for Bullard. She gave up two runs, both earned, struck out six and walked three.

Hamshire-Fannett ends its season with a 18-17-1 record.