Lady Phoenix suffer heartbreaking end to impressive season
— 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.”
Sonoraville’s Payton Townsend connects for an RBI-single against Pike County on Friday.
Sonoraville’s Kristen Davis (7) delivers a pitch to catcher Sandra Beth Pritchett against Pike County.