Softball team falls to Colonels
CAMBRIDGE — Colonel Richardson High pitcher Morgan Willoughby knew the result of the final play in Monday’s Class 1A East Section I semifinal against Cambridge-South Dorchester before the official call.
Willoughby went airborne when catcher Corryn Johansen caught a strike from right fielder Jayna Turner and tagged out Karli Lewis at home for a game-ending double play that secured Colonel’s 6-3 victory over the Vikings.
The game-ending play was one of two double plays by the Colonels — the first halting Cambridge-SD’s biggest threat.
The Colonels jumped to a 3-0 lead on Willoughby’s RBI single in the second and Madison Bee’s two-run single in the third.
Colonel head coach Brett Ireland knew the Vikings would not give up, and preached to his team to keep making all the little plays to prevent a comeback.
In the bottom of the fourth, Cambridge-SD (126) loaded the bases with one out on singles by Alyssa Swann, Maddie Lednum and Jamyra Chester. Up to that point, Willoughby (7-1) had not given up a hit. Her next pitch, though, changed game’s complexion.
Viking center fielder Emily Keener smoked a pitch up the middle. The sure-handed Willoughby snatched the ball and immediately fired home to Johansen for the force, then watched her catcher throw
a strike to Gabby Galante at first for the inning-ending double play. One pitch. Two outs.
“When you get to the playoffs, and you get two good teams, the winner is usually who can get the timely outs,” Ireland said. “Morgan, Corryn and Gabby made a great double play to get us out of the inning when they had bases loaded.
“Morgan gave Corryn a good throw, and Corryn touched the plate and made a good shot to Gabby,” he added. “At that point, Cambridge was gaining momentum. We called time to settle things down, and then Morgan, Corryn and Gabby made the play.
“Those are the plays you need to win ballgames,” Ireland continued. “A few innings later, they hit one that looks to be going into the gap, but Kaylie (Moore) takes a great angle in center field to cut the ball off to prevent extra bases. That play proved to save a couple runs later in the inning. We did a lot of little things to help us today.”
Down 6-0 in the bottom of the seventh, the Vikings continued to fight. Chester’s inside-the-park home run to left put CambridgeSD on the board. Keener reached on an error and Gabby Lewis walked. Regan Jones sacrificed the runners forward.
Karli Lewis then blasted a two-run triple to deep left to cut Colonel’s lead to 6-3. The Vikings’ season, though, ended on the following pitch, when Kaylie Seabrease skied to right field, where Turner made the catch and fired home for the game-ending double play.
“We just couldn’t get those key hits with runners in scoring position,” Cambridge-SD head coach Kareem Otey said. “Colonel did a great job hitting today.
“Keener hit it hard in the fourth with the bases loaded, but right to someone and they made the play,” Otey added. “We had some good hits that went right at people. But overall, we just didn’t hit the way we needed to battle against a good hitting Colonel team.”
Viking Senior pitcher Paige Bleyer went the distance, allowing 10 hits, six runs and striking out 11.
Willoughby pitched a complete game and took a no-hitter into the fourth inning. She allowed six hits, three runs and struck out three.
Willoughby got Colonel going with an RBI single to left to plate Galante for a 1-0 lead in the second. Bleyer halted the next scoring chance by getting a strikeout and catching a bunt attempt and firing to third for a double play to end the inning.
In the third, Colonel’s first three batters reached on a walk by Jennifer Larrimore and singles by Johansen and Jazmine Brooks. Quick thinking by Bleyer led to an out when she fired to third to catch Larrimore in a run down. Bleyer then induced a pop up to Karli Lewis on a bunt attempt for the second out.
One strike away from getting out of the inning unharmed, Bee smoked a two-run single up the middle for a 3-0 lead.
The Colonels went up 4-0 in the fifth when Camryn Plugge singled, and scored on a triple to deep right by Galante (2 for 3).
A two-run single by Brooks (2 for 4, two RBIs) in the sixth increased the lead to 6-0 for Colonel.
“With two outs in the third and sixth innings, we got two-run singles in each inning by Maddie B and Jaz,” Ireland said. “That is what your seniors do. They stepped up and got the big hits when we needed to.”
Cambridge-South Dorchester’s Karli Lewis rips a two-run triple to left against Colonel Richardson Monday, May 16.