Lady Phoenix suf­fer heartbreaking end to im­pres­sive sea­son

Calhoun Times - - SPORTS WEDNESDAY - By Alex Far­rer

— In sports, of­ten a few inches make the dif­fer­ence be­tween a win and a loss, or in Sono­rav­ille’s case on Fri­day, the sea­son con­tin­u­ing or end­ing sud­denly

The Lady Phoenix saw their run at the Elite Eight in Colum­bus and their sea­son come to an end on Fri­day af­ter­noon with a 6-5 loss to Bre­men in an elim­i­na­tion game. Sono­rav­ille (21-17) led 5-4 go­ing into the bot­tom of the sev­enth, but the Lady Devils ral­lied to score two runs, the fi­nal one com­ing on a bloop dou­ble that hit off the end of Sono­rav­ille left fielder McKen­zie Green’s glove and onto the ground af­ter her all­out, full-ex­ten­sion ef­fort.

Ra­gan Folds was the player re­spon­si­ble for the game-win­ning hit for Bre­men (26-14) as she drove home Kris­ten Green, who had dou­bled ear­lier in the in­ning to drive in a run and tie the game at 5-5.

Sono­rav­ille coach Chad Hayes said there isn’t re­ally a more gut-wrench­ing way to lose a game and bring an end to a sea­son than the way Fri­day’s pro­ceed­ings un­folded.

“It’s tough… es­pe­cially when you lead the whole game and you feel good about it up a run go­ing into the last in­ning,” said Hayes. “Bre­men came up with some huge hits there, and it just wasn’t to be for us. I’m proud of the way we fought to­day and all sea­son though. There were a few times this year where our girls could’ve packed it in and given up, but there was never any quit in them. I hate it for th­ese se­niors be­cause they have done so much for us this year and in their ca­reer. I hope th­ese younger girls use this as a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and come back hun­gry for next year. I’m proud of what th­ese se­niors have ac­com­plished, and I’m proud of what our team did this year.”

Sono­rav­ille took a 2-0 lead in the sec­ond in­ning on a two-run blast by Alyssa Hughes. Af­ter Bre­men cut the deficit to one at 2-1 in the bot­tom of the sec­ond, the Lady Phoenix got an in­sur­ance run on a solo home from San­dra Beth Pritch­ett.

The Lady Devils tied the game in the bot­tom of the third on a wild pitch and then an er­ror, but Sono­rav­ille’s Kris­ten Davis put her team on top with a two-run homer in the fifth.

Bre­men’s Green had a solo homer in the fifth to make it 5-4 and set up the end of the game se­quence.

Davis led the Lady Phoenix of­fense with a per­fect 3-for-3 day, in­clud­ing her two-run homer. Hughes had the two-run shot, Pritch­ett a solo homer and Har­leigh Chas­tain added a dou­ble and a run scored.

Davis came on in relief and pitched well de­spite tak­ing the tough­luck loss. The ju­nior went 5 1-3 in­nings and gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits while strik­ing out three. Hughes worked the 1 2-3 in­nings and gave up one run on four hits.

For Bre­men, Green led the charge of­fen­sively with a 4-for-4 day that in­cluded a homer, a dou­ble, two RBIs and three runs scored. Folds had three hits of her own, in­clud­ing two dou­bles, and an RBI, Ali Eriquezzo con­trib­uted a dou­ble and an RBI and Caitlin Smith was 2-for-3.

Ash­linn Gar­ner got the win in the cir­cle for Bre­men as she went all seven in­nings and gave up five runs on seven hits while strik­ing out one and walk­ing one.

Hayes said as hard as it is to see his team fall, he ex­pects the Lady Phoenix pro­gram to con­tinue to suc­ceed and reach even fur­ther heights in the near fu­ture.

“We’re def­i­nitely headed in the right di­rec­tion,” said Hayes. “We’ve got to con­tinue to be­lieve that this is where we should be and build off of what we’ve done. We’ve got a lot of girls com­ing back next year, and we want to come back stronger, work hard and go even fur­ther next year.”

In Sono­rav­ille’s ear­lier games in Colum­bus:

Sono­rav­ille 8, Pike County 0 COLUM­BUS

— With their backs against the wall, the Lady Phoenix came out on Fri­day and put on a near flaw­less per­for­mance with great pitch- ing and de­fense to go along with some timely hits to keep their sea­son alive with an elim­i­na­tion-game vic­tory in Colum­bus.

Sono­rav­ille (21-16) jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first in­ning and kept adding on even though they had plenty of sup­port for Kris­ten Davis, who worked a six-in­ning com­plete game for the win. The ju­nior went six for the shutout and gave up five hits while strik­ing out nine.

Lead­ing 7-0 in the sixth, Pike County (2310) loaded the bases, but Davis got a strike­out to end the threat. Davis then stepped to the plate in the bot­tom half of the in­ning and put the vic­tory to bed with a solo homer to force the mercy rule.

“Kris­ten threw it well to­day and got ahead of bat­ters,” said Hayes. “There were a few times she didn’t get ahead, and (Pike County) got a few hits, but they were never re­ally able to have much of a threat be­cause Kris­ten got big outs. She gave us a great ef­fort to­day and then fin­ished it off with her homer at the plate.”

Sono­rav­ille added one run in the third and two more in the fourth af­ter their early four-run surge in the first.

“I told the girls last night we needed a fast start, and we were able to do that with the four runs in the first,” said Hayes. “We got some mo­men­tum early and were swing­ing it pretty good. That makes a big dif­fer­ence to get early runs es­pe­cially af­ter get­ting shut out yes­ter­day.”

Griffin Holden had a per­fect 3-for-3 day at the plate with a dou­ble, two RBIs and a run scored. Davis fin­ished with two hits, in­clud­ing her solo homer, San­dra Beth Pritch­ett was 2-for-3 and Pay­ton Townsend, Mol­lie Locke and Kar­ley Thomas all had a hit and an RBI apiece.

Worth County 4, Sono­rav­ille 0 COLU\MBUS

— Sono­rav­ille’s Kris­ten Davis was solid in the cir­cle for her team, but Worth County pitcher Caroline New­ton was even more dom­i­nant.

New­ton al­lowed just two hits to the Lady Phoenix, and her of­fense did enough to send Sono­rav­ille to a 4-0 loss in the first round of the Elite Eight on Thurs­day af­ter­noon. The Lady Phoenix (20-16) fell into the loser’s bracket where they faced Pike County on Fri­day in an elim­i­na­tion game.

New­ton had 12 strike­outs for Worth County as Sono­rav­ille had lim­ited chances to score, and when they did, the Lady Rams got big outs from their de­fense or a pun­chout.

“She’s prob­a­bly the best pitcher we’ve seen this year,” said Sono­rav­ille coach Chad Hayes of New­ton.

Worth County got their first run in the third on an RBI-dou­ble from Abbey Ad­kins and then added three more on a three-run homer in the sixth by Tay­lor White. Sono­rav­ille’s Davis only al­lowed two hits but both came at cru­cial times for the op­po­si­tion. She al­lowed four runs ( two earned) and struck out three.

Griffin Holden had a dou­ble, and Pay­ton Townsend had a sin­gle for the only two hits for the Lady Phoenix lineup.

Hayes said de­spite the loss he has con­fi­dence in his team based on their re­siliency all sea­son.

“We’ve bounced back all year and over­come a lot of ad­ver­sity,” said Hayes. “We’re used to that. We’ve just got to come out to­mor­row, play our game and make fewer mis­takes. Un­for­tu­nately, a few er­rors cost us to­day. Kris­ten pitched a great game, but we’ve just got to make more plays. I feel good about what this group can do. We’ve just got to make plays and have fewer mis­takes.”

TIM GODBEE / For the Cal­houn Times

Sono­rav­ille’s Pay­ton Townsend con­nects for an RBI-sin­gle against Pike County on Fri­day.

TIM GODBEE / For the Cal­houn Times

Sono­rav­ille’s Kris­ten Davis (7) de­liv­ers a pitch to catcher San­dra Beth Pritch­ett against Pike County.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.