A dominating season by the Robstown Lady Cotton Pickers ended in heartbreak Saturday as the team fell to the Columbia Lady Roughnecks, knocking them out of the postseason.
After a 3-0 loss to Columbia in the first of a best-of-three series on Friday, the Lady 'Pickers tried to bounce back in Game Two on Saturday. Solid pitching by Columbia's Tiffany Marshall, who shut the Lady 'Pickers out in the first game, held Robstown to just three hits in five innings of play in the second match-up.
An RBI by Laura Benavides in the first inning to bring in Sabrina Salazar was the only score of the night for the Lady 'Pickers on Saturday. Robstown could not silence the Lady Roughnecks all night, leading to an 11-1 victory for Columbia. The game was called in the fifth inning due to the 10-run rule.
Robstown Head Softball Coach Sart Perez said the third round loss was difficult for his team, but he was grateful for the effort and heart they showed this season.
The Lady 'Pickers ended the 2011 regular season as District 31-3A Champions, and close out their overall campaign with a 20-8 record.
"We had a real good season and I'm proud of the girls," Perez said. "They worked really hard right up to the end."
After getting past Needville two weeks ago, Perez said the Lady 'Pickers struggled this round against the pitching of Columbia's Tiffany Marshall, and he gave credit to the player for putting up a great performance for her team. Marshall only threw 50 pitches in the Game Two win.
"We haven't faced a pitcher with speed like that in a while," he said. "She did what she was supposed to do."
Looking to next season, Perez pointed out this year's squad is only losing three seniors - Laura Benavides, Miranda Lascano and Kayla Flores. A majority of the roster will return to make another run in the 2012 season.
While this year's playoff loss may have been a bitter pill for the team to swallow, Perez said the experience will benefit his team in the offseason.
"I think we left it off really positive for next year," Perez said, adding that he encouraged his team to be proud of the season they had.
In regards to this year's group of seniors, though, Perez said their leadership will be sorely missed in the locker room and on the field.
"It's going to be hard to fill their shoes, but I tell the girls it will happen," he said. "We just need someone else to step up."
The Lady 'Pickers only managed two hits, from Miranda Lascano and Mia Tamez, in Game One's loss, compared to eight for Columbia. Marshall had seven strikeouts in that contest.