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Hebron ousts Keller from state softball playoffs _ again
April 29, 2012By David McNabb of VYPE MAGAZINE - DFW
COPPELL - A two-time state champion with six trips to the state tournament, Keller has plenty of good playoff memories. But Keller might want to avoid Hebron in the playoffs when possible.
For the second time in three years, Hebron eliminated a highly ranked Keller in the bi-district round. Hebron swept a best-of-3 series with a 6-3 victory over Keller on Friday night at the Coppell Softball Complex. Hebron took Game 1 with a 5-0 victory.
Hebron defeated Keller as the state's top ranked team in the first round in 2010. Hebron's heroics were led by speedy junior second baseman Chelsea Herndon, who had a two-out, tie-breaking, 3-run triple.
"If any kid deserves to get a big hit like that it's Chelsea," Hebron coach Staci Jackson said. "She works hard every day. And she's been roping it for us. She's come up with the clutch hits. She had a two-out hit which got us into the playoffs."
With two outs and a tie score in the sixth inning, Herndon laced a 200-foot, 3-run triple to center against a stiff wind.
"If there hadn't been such a strong wind, that might have been 215-feet off the fence," Jackson said. "There's no one else I'd want up there in that situation than Chelsea. People are trying to pitch her inside, pitch her differently and she can hit everything."
Hebron (23-10-1) reached the 5A state tournament two years ago after defeating top-ranked Keller in the first round. A two-time state champ (2003, '05), Keller (21-7) rallied with three runs in the bottom of the fifth pull into a 3-3 tie. Texas A&M junior commit April Ryan singled in two runs to make it, 3-2, and scored the tying run on one of two Hebron errors which helped fuel the inning. In the top of the sixth, Keller had walked Baylor signee Heather Stearns to load the bases but Keller pitcher Bailee Kaderka had gotten a strikeout for the second out before Herndon stroked a 1-1 pitch for her second triple and third hit. Stearns had a two-run homer in Game 1.
The power-pitching Stearns has all three playoff wins over Keller dating back to her 1-0 bi-district victory as a sophomore in 2010. Stearns has allowed only three runs to Keller in 21 playoffs innings. Stearns struck out nine to run her season totals to 250 strikeouts in 149 innings. Hebron finished fourth in a very strong District 8-5A with nationally ranked Plano and Plano East but has defeated District 7-5A champ Keller in two of the last three years and hasn't trailed in any of the three playoff meetings. Hebron took 2-0 lead over Keller in the second inning on a bases loaded single up the middle by sophomore third baseman Erinn Hill. Hebron had loaded the bases with a single by junior Sarah Flores and working a pair of walks off Keller's Louisiana Tech signee Kaderka (19-5).