Reese Farrar hurls Abilene Wylie past Caprock in softball playoff opener

Amarillo Caprock third baseman Ariana Lopez (3) tags out Wylie's Ryleigh Whitehead who was caught stealing after hitting a one-out double in the sixth inning. Wylie won the one-game bi-district playoff 2-0 on Thursday, April 28, 2022, in Woodrow.
Amarillo Caprock third baseman Ariana Lopez (3) tags out Wylie's Ryleigh Whitehead who was caught stealing after hitting a one-out double in the sixth inning. Wylie won the one-game bi-district playoff 2-0 on Thursday, April 28, 2022, in Woodrow.

WOODROW — Cameron Gregory has been catching Reese Farrar since Farrar was taking pitching lessons in eighth grade.

Gregory can vouch that Farrar pitched the best game of her career when Abilene Wylie needed it.

Farrar scattered five hits and tied a career high with 15 strikeouts as the Lady Bulldogs beat Caprock 2-0 in a one-game, Region I-5A bi-district softball playoff Thursday at Lady Pirate Field.

“This is one of the best games she’s ever pitched,” Gregory said. “She pitched well.”

Well indeed.

Farrar, a junior, didn’t allow a walk in hurling Wylie into the second round next week. The Lady Bulldogs (19-7) will play the El Paso Chapin-Canutillo winner in the area round.

Caprock (16-17), the No. 3 seed from District 3-5A, had its chances to put pressure on Wylie, the District 4-5A No. 2 seed, early in the winner-take-all game.

Daisy Fuentes opened the game with a double off the wall in center, and Aliyiah Alaniz followed with a bloop single – a high pop up just behind second base that should have been caught, but no one made a play on it.

Farrar, though, shook it off and retired the next three batters – two on strikeouts.

“On the double, I didn’t hit my spot, and that was my fault,” Farrar said. “I told my defense that was my bad. Y'all make mistakes. I make mistakes. No one’s perfect. But we need to get through this together and forget about it and keep our mentality the same as we started the game.”

After leaving runners stranded at first and third in the first inning, Wylie manufactured a run in the second inning. Jadyn Fernandez led off with a single and took second on Nylah Alvarado’s sacrifice bunt. A wild pitch got her to third, and she scored on Kat Martinez’s ground out to second.

The Lady Longhorns threatened to tie the game in the top of the fourth when Kiana Rios hit a one-out triple. But Farrar, who had retired 10 of the 11 batters she had faced before Rios’ triple, struck out Kitzia Aguirre looking before Araceli Garcia hit a soft liner to first.

Caprock got only one runner on base the rest of the way. Jaelin Ornelas, the pitcher, hit a one-out single in the seventh, but Farrar retired the final five batters – three on strikeouts.

The fact that she struck out 15 and didn’t walk anyone was key to her success.

“I really have been focusing the last couple of games just to reduce the walks and pitch more strikeouts,” Farrar said. “The main thing I focus on when I’m pitching is, ‘Please, don’t walk anyone. If they get on, it’s your fault. If they score, it’s your fault. But if you strike them out, it helps your defense.’”

Wylie got some insurance with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Farrar singled, and her courtesy runner, Kynslee George, took third on a two-base throwing error on a pickoff attempt by the catcher. Ryleigh Whitehead chased her home with a sacrifice fly.

Whitehead also had a one-out double in the sixth but was caught stealing before Fernandez, who was 2-for-2 before her last at-bat, popped out to second.

Wylie didn’t need the extra run with Farrar outdueling Ornelas, a Texas Lutheran signee who gave up six hits, walked none but struck out none.

Amarillo Caprock pitcher Jaelin Ornelas throws a pitch to a Wylie batter in the fourth inning. Wylie beat the Lady Longhorns 2-0 in the one-game bi-district playoff Thursday, April 28, 2022, in Woodrow.
Amarillo Caprock pitcher Jaelin Ornelas throws a pitch to a Wylie batter in the fourth inning. Wylie beat the Lady Longhorns 2-0 in the one-game bi-district playoff Thursday, April 28, 2022, in Woodrow.

The Lady Longhorns struggled to put the ball in play enough to beat Farrar.

“We had opportunities,” Caprock coach Bobby Langford said. “Credit to them. They have a great pitcher, and they shut down some of our top hitters. … We had some hits throughout the game, but it’s just a matter of stringing them all together and moving the runners over and getting them home.”

Wylie coach Heather Collier praised her pitcher – and a Caprock team that gave the Lady Bulldogs a battle until the end on a hot, windy day. They hit the ball hard, too, when they did make contact.

“Reese did a great job,” Collier said. “Amarillo Caprock, everything I saw (on film), I knew this was going to be battle, and it was from first pitch to last. That’s a good ballclub. For them to finish third in their district, they sure did fool me. They played a good game with us today.”

It almost played out like Langford gambled, thanks to a coin flip that allowed him to choose a one-game playoff. Had his team jumped on Wylie early, Caprock might have been able to pull off the upset.

“Our defense kept us in this game, and our pitcher, she pitched fantastic,” Langford said. “Jailyn, she pitched a great ballgame, and our defense backed up her up. It was 1-0 for a long time. We had them where we wanted them, and we had the situation we wanted coming into this game. We just couldn’t work there at the end.”

REGION I-5A BI-DISTRICT PLAYOFF

Wylie 2, Caprock 0

Caprock … 000 … 000 … 0 – 0 … 5 … 2

Wylie … 010 … 100 … x – 2 … 6 … 0

Jaelin Ornelas and Aliyiah Alaniz. Reese Farrar and Cameron Gregory. W – Farrar. L – Ornelas. 2B – Caprock: Daisy Fuentes; Wylie: Ryleigh Whitehead. 3B – Caprock: Kiana Rios.

Records – Amarillo Caprock 16-17; Wylie 19-7.

This article originally appeared on Abilene Reporter-News: Reese Farrar hurls Abilene Wylie past Caprock in softball playoff opener