LEAGUE CITY – The Clear Falls Knights could not solve Deer Park Lady Deer sophomore pitcher Payton McBride in Game 1 of the best-of-three series Thursday night.
Deer Park (30-5) pounded out 10 hits en route to a 10-0, five-inning run-rule win against Clear Falls (23-10) in the second round of the Region III-5A softball playoffs.
McBride struck out six and retired the first 12 batters she faced.
The lone bright spot offensively for the Knights was first baseman Tori Hatten, who made McBride work, seeing a total of 13 pitches in two at bats.
In the fifth inning, Clear Falls shortstop Taylor Troutt worked a leadoff walk to end McBride’s bid for a perfect game.
The next batter, third baseman Amber Pufal, hustled out a bunt single to break up the no-hitter.
But the Lady Knights failed to score when McBride retired the next three batters she faced.
The inability to get the leadoff batter out doomed the Knights.
In four of the five innings, leadoff batters for the Lady Deer reached base and scored.
Deer Park batters got to Clear Falls starting pitcher Misty Muniz from the onset.
Deer Park’s Haley Harrison got the Lady Deer offense going in the first inning with a leadoff double, followed later in the inning with a double by Tyler Galena to put Lady Deer up, 2-0.
Caitlin Plocheck ended Muniz’s night, pounding a two-run home run to center field.
Muniz pitched 32/3 innings, allowing six runs and walking two.
Harrison put the exclamation mark on the blowout when she smacked a three-run home run to right off Clear Falls relief pitcher Corrie Patrick to end the game by the 10-run rule.
Game two will be played at 6 p.m. today and, if necessary, Game 3 will be played 30 minutes later at Clear Springs High School.
Softball playoffs – Class 5A second round
Clear Falls vs. Deer Park
All games at Clear Springs
Game 1: Deer Park 10, Clear Falls 0 (5)
Game 2: Today, 6 p.m.
*Game 3: Today, 8 p.m.
* if necessary