After a big 9-1 loss to Ninnekah on Tuesday, the Alex softball team has had its sights set on a rematch with their Grady County foes to try and get a little payback.
On Thursday, in the Owls' own tournament, Alex did just that by winning 5-2 over Ninnekah and gaining back some of the credit they lost in that fateful game two days earlier.
"We needed that," Alex head coach Isaac Byrne said. "We talked about it the other day. I told them we could use this as an opportunity to bounce back and as a valuable learning experience."
The feeling of Thursday's game was different from the start. The Longhorns took a 2-1 lead out of the first inning, and it turned out to be an advantage they never gave up. But for a while, Ninnekah held steady. Erin Cheek struck back for the tournament hosts in the bottom of the first, and it looked like they were carving a path for themselves to get back into the game.
Then came a topsy-turvy third inning in which anything that could go wrong for the Owls, did go wrong. An error-prone top of the third gave Alex three more runs on the board, rattling Ninnekah and putting the Longhorns' troubles against them far back in the rearview mirror.
Owls' pitcher Lexi Cantrell got the fourth inning RBI, sending Ciara Garrett across home plate to try and spark a comeback. But it came too late, and Alex was the happier team in the end, entering the winners bracket to play Gracemont, Bray-Doyle, or Cyril.
"We made a few changes and weren't quite sure what to expect," Byrne said. "We're still figuring a few things out, but this was a good win for us."