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Brownwood softball facing revenge match in playoffs

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During the Lady Lions' 14-year streak of making the softball playoffs, they have advanced to the third round more than half of the time.

This season's group makes it eight trips to the regional quarterfinals as Brownwood will face Vernon in a one-game series on Friday at 6 p.m. at ACU.

"It's incredible. It's what everyone wants to do," Brownwood's leading hitter Anne Gillespie said. "Everyone wants to keep playing."

The Lady Lions (22-6-1) have defeated Burkburknett and Alvarado in the playoffs so far. Fifth-year head coach Jessica Lynn, who played softball at the University of North Texas, tells her team to think of each game as a one-game playoff, even if it isn't.

"It motivates me even more because I know it's all-or-nothing," junior pitcher Chyanne Ellett said. "You've got one shot to do this."

"I think it reminds us this could be the last time to play with this team, with our two seniors," said Gillespie. "It motivates us to really keep going."

The mindset seems to be working. Brownwood has outscored its opponents 21-4 in their three games this postseason.

Vernon swept the Lady Lions out of the playoffs last year, ending their season in round three. In 2015, Brownwood was bounced by Vernon as well.

"They have a great bat, and they have great pitching that's for sure," senior center fielder Karly Harper said. "That pitching got us last year in the third round. We know what to expect now. I think we have a really good chance in this game."

The two teams squared off earlier this year during a pre-district tournament. Brownwood held a 4-1 lead before Vernon rallied to win 5-4.

"This team has beat us the past three times that we've played them. I think we use that as a way to humble ourselves and remind ourselves that anything can happen," said Ellett, who will be a major factor in Friday's win-or-go-home game.

Ellett has a 21-6 record in the circle this season with 278 strikeouts and an ERA around 1.50.

"I love playing competition and I think that's what Vernon has. I'm excited to play them and I know everyone else definitely is," said the University of Memphis commit.

"We've got to go into this game giving our absolute all."

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