All season long the Robstown Lady Cotton Pickers rode the arm of freshman Leslie Ysassi.
In the Pickers best-of-three Class 3A bi-district playoff series against the Raymondville Lady Bear Kats, the freshman hurler bounced back from a series-opening loss to help lead Robstown to a two games to one victory.
Robstown lost game one 7-5 in Raymondville and won games two and three, 4-2 and 5-2, at home.
The 'Pickers advance to the Area round where they meet up with District 29-3A champion Devine in a one-game playoff Friday night in Robstown at 7 p.m. The winner moves on to the Region IV quarterfinals.
Playing a three-game set was exactly what ”Pickers' head coach Sart Perez wanted and the format was to Robstown's liking.
"That's why we wanted a three-game series," Perez said. "That's why you play at home. We had a bad game, but in a three-game series, if you have a bad game, you have a chance to come back and play better."
And play better is what the 'Pickers and Ysassi did in winning back-to-back games to win the series.
"Overall, we played well, even in the loss," Perez said. "The game one loss was one of those games. Raymondville is a good hitting team and they just won the game.
"Game one was a good one, everyone was on their game…they (Raymondville) just won the game."
Ysassi shook off the freshman jitters in game two, throwing a one-hitter while giving up two unearned runs.
"She had some freshman nerves, but she settled down in game two," Perez said. "By game three, she was back to her old self and was playing with confidence."
Ysassi and the 'Pickers are seeking a return trip to the regional quarterfinals. This year, however, Robstown is a Class 3A program after dropping down from 4A.
While Perez doesn't know much about Devine, he said the 'Pickers won't change anything from the normal routine they've had all year.
"We're just going to keep working hard like we've done all year," Perez said. "We don't know much about Devine, but what we do know is that they have two pitchers that throw fast.
"We have players back from last season's quarterfinal run. They have experience and know what to expect because it gets harder and harder every round."