Pearland Roundup: Lady Oilers still defending
Pearland and Bellaire meet for the first time since 2009 in this week's Class 5A Region III softball semifinals with a trip to the region finals against Katy Taylor or Dobie on the line.
The last time these teams got together was at the same point of the 2009 season (region semis), and Pearland won games one 3-0 and three 4-3 on the way to a region title and eventual berth in the state finals (Bellaire won game two 5-4).
Pearland and Bellaire open this week's series at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 19, at the University, with game two at 7 p.m. Friday, May 20, at UH.
If a third game is needed, it's at 7 p.m. saturday, May 21, at Seven Lakes High School in Katy.
Bellaire, the 2011 District 20-5A winner, features senior pitching ace Gabby Smith (Texas), and has swept Cinco Ranch 3-2 and 14-2, Jersey Village 20-0 and 9-1, and Katy 7-0 and 5-0 in the postseason.
Pearland had to come from behind in the first two rounds against Fort Bend Travis 2-4, 11-0 and 7-0, and Deer Park 2-3, 12-2 and 10-2, but the Lady Oilers took care of Pasadena Memorial 10-0 and 4-3 in a sweep last week.
After senior pitcher Jessica Bowden tossed a no-hitter in the opener against Pasadena Memorial, the Lady Oilers had to score four runs in the top of the seventh inning in game two to clinch the series.
"Jessica pitched a great game and our bats were on fire in the first game, and hopefully coming back from being down 3-0 gave us some confidence," Pearland coach Laneigh Clark said. "We could very well be facing some deficits from here on, and it's good that they know they can come back even if it's in our last at bat."
In that decisive seventh, seniors Chelsea Bennett (leadoff single), Sara Clements (bunt), Leandra Maly (walk) and Bowden (two-run single), junior Lauren Langner (reached on an error), and freshman Kristen Cuyos (RBI ground out) had key plate appearances.
The teams have been two of the best in the area and Texas over the past three seasons with Bellaire falling to eventual state champ Alvin in 2008 and state finalist Pearland in 2009 in the region semifinals, and against Katy in the second round in somewhat of a surprise last year.
Pearland fell in the region quarterfinals in 2008 and was edged 1-0 by Smithson Valley in the 2009 state finals before winning it all last season.
Texas Alliance earns Junior Olympic spot
Pearland's Madison Mikeska and Lauren Shorkey, and Manvel's Samantha Orta are part of a Texas Alliance club volleyball team that's headed to the Junior Olympics in July in Atlanta, Ga.
The Texas Alliance (age) 16 team took top honors at two national qualifying events beating out 103 teams in the Big South Tournament in Atlanta, and 119 teams in the Lone Star Classic in Dallas, to qualify for nationals for the first time in club history.
The team also includes Cinco Ranch's Natalie Burges, Megan Burlingame, Lexie Dolan, Paige Thumann and Brianna Vercellino; Bellaire's Marguerite Grubb; Ridge Point's Jordan Richardson; and Austin's Courtney Walker, according to the club's Web site.
All the players are set to graduate after the 2012-2013 school year and will be juniors during the 2011 high school volleyball season.
For more information, visit http://txalliance.com.
Gills grabs 4A silver
Manvel's Meschelle Gills wrapped up a standout freshman season with a silver medal in the Class 4A girls 800 meters at the University Interscholastic League State Track and Field Meet last week in Austin.
Gills finished second at 2 minutes, 15.12 seconds coming in behind Canyon's Arin Rice (2:14.12) and just ahead of Carrollton Smith's Courtney Okolo (2:15.37).
Dawson's Dominique Charles was second in the 4A boys 400 (47.50), and the Dawson girls 800 relay of Jazmyn Jones, Brittany Williams-White, Erica Davis and Cybil Obiozor added a third place (1:39.97) to come way with state medals.
Friendswood's Ryan Teel also earned state hardware with a second in the 4A boys 1,600 (4:19.45).
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